Saturday 1 October 2016

Irish priest appeals for mother of newborn baby found in church manger to come forward

Published 25/11/2015 | 08:48

The baby was taken to Jamaica Hospital in New York, where officials say he is going to be fine (Picture: Father Christopher Heanue)
The baby was taken to Jamaica Hospital in New York, where officials say he is going to be fine (Picture: Father Christopher Heanue)

An Irish priest has appealed for the mother of a newborn baby abandoned in a church manger to come forward.

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Father Christopher Ryan Heanue said the appeal "is not for prosecution, but for the good of the mother's health".

The priest spoke to RTE Radio One's Ray D'Arcy Show after a newborn with his umbilical cord still attached was found lying in a manger at a New York church.

The priest, whose parents are both from Ireland, said he and others placed a clean towel around the baby while waiting for paramedics to show up.

The child was found at the Holy Child Jesus Church in the borough of Queens on Monday.

A custodian found the crying infant wrapped in towels in the indoor nativity scene he had set up just before his lunch break, a New York police spokesman said.

"The beautiful thing is that this woman found in this church - which is supposed to be a home for those in need - this home for her child," Heanue said, referring to the person he assumes left the baby there.

"A young couple in our parish would love to adopt this child and keep this gift in our community. It would make a great Christmas miracle," Heanue said.

Paramedics took the healthy baby to Jamaica Hospital and police are investigating the incident, the police spokesman said.

Under New York state law, a parent may abandon a newborn anonymously at certain designated safe haven locations, as long as the baby is handed over to an appropriate person.

Father Christopher Ryan Heanue was ordained five months ago and has already made a trip to Ireland to say Mass in his mother and father's hometowns.

"I try and make it back to the home country as much as possible," he said. 

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