By Julie Asher
Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Christmas tree. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Just a month ago the story of a newborn being left in the Nativity scene at a Catholic church in the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York, made headlines on the diocese’s NET TV and across the country, if not the world.
In the news business something that happened a month ago might seem like old news, but on Christmas Eve, a day full of joyous anticipation, it is a timely story that bears retelling.
And the best way to recount that story of the babe found in the manger at Holy Child Jesus Church in the Richmond Hill area of Queens is through the eyes of Father Chris Heanue, parochial vicar at the church where the story unfolded. Ed Wilkinson, editor of The Tablet, Brooklyn’s diocesan newspaper, sent along this piece written by Father Heanue:
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.”
In most parishes, Mondays are pretty routine. Usually, priests and staff spend their Mondays responding to e-mails and calls from the past weekend, preparing office mailings, cleaning the church after the weekend Masses and performing other ordinary tasks. A recent Monday (Nov. 24), however, was unlike all the rest at my parish, Holy Child Jesus in Richmond Hill.
That morning, our maintenance man, Jose Moran, began putting up our indoor Nativity scene in preparation for Christmas. Although its assembly was a bit premature for my liking, it turned out to be timed perfectly in God’s providence.
Shortly after returning from lunch, Jose began sweeping and cleaning the church. While he was performing his duties, he began to hear the cries of a child. The sobs led him to our newly assembled creche. To his great surprise, there was a newborn child placed in the stable, wrapped in, for lack of better words, swaddling clothes!
He immediately ran to the office and informed the parish secretary, who called the priests. We immediately called 911. Thankfully, the baby boy was in perfect health, though the paramedics brought him to the hospital for care.
Photo of the baby shortly after he was found at Holy Child Jesus Church. (Courtesy/Ed Wilkinson, The Tablet)
By Tuesday, the story was “viral.” We received phone calls from many media outlets. Television vans, cameras and reporters swarmed the parish. Headlines blared: “Newborn Baby Found in Manger,” “Manger Baby,” and (Read More)