A bright twinkle glistened in the eyes of NYPD Det. Kevin Brennan Sunday as Cardinal Timothy Dolan christened his 4-month-old daughter Maeve at a private ceremony inside St. Patrick's Cathedral.
About 35 family members and friends including Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and his wife attended the christening at the cathedral's Lady Chapel three months after Brennan, of Garden City Park, was wounded when a suspect he was chasing in Brooklyn shot him in the head.
Before the baptism, Dolan told a packed cathedral of several hundred at Sunday Mass that Brennan's recovery had inspired the city.
Brennan's "miraculous recovery gave us a lot to be thankful for," Dolan said, an acknowledgment that prompted rousing applause from parishioners. He said Brennan "was wearing a smile all the time" during the christening.
"It is wonderful to see Officer Brennan so happy and healthy," the cardinal said. "And today I have the honor to christen little Maeve Brennan."
Minutes before the christening, Kelly cradled little Maeve, holding her to his shoulder and chest, rocking her as his wife took photographs of the family, who sat in the first three pews.
Brennan, 28, a six-year police veteran, was shot at point-blank range with a .38-caliber handgun behind his right ear during a struggle with 21-year-old Luis Ortiz in Bushwick on Jan. 31, authorities said.
Brennan was among three plainclothes cops who responded to a 911 call of shots fired. Ortiz was arrested and charged with attempted murder.
Brennan, who lost some of his peripheral vision, was hospitalized for 10 days at Bellevue Hospital.
Since February, he has been undergoing rehabilitation therapy on Long Island.
After Sunday's christening, Dolan told reporters that "Janet and Kevin Brennan told me that this christening helped inspire Kevin's recovery."
He said their daughter's christening was a symbol of "their gratitude to God."