Imagine the surprise at a Queens church when the Nativity scene suddenly featured a real baby boy.
The healthy newborn was discovered in the manger Monday by a custodian at Holy Child Jesus Church in Richmond Hill.
"God works in His mysterious ways," marveled Father Christopher Heanue, assistant pastor and administrator of the church on 86th Avenue.
The custodian had just returned from lunch when he heard the sound of a baby's cries coming from the Christmas crèche he had just set up facing the pews, police said.
Officials at the Catholic parish promptly called police, and the baby, who authorities believe was just hours old and had been carried to term, was taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. He was in stable condition Tuesday, police said.
Investigators with the 102 Precinct found video surveillance images of a woman carrying the child in blankets and are trying to identify her, a law enforcement official said. It was unclear whether she would face criminal charges.
New York State's Abandoned Infant Protection Act permits a parent to abandon a newborn baby up to 30 days of age anonymously, provided the baby is abandoned in a safe manner. The law allows drop-off to be done at police and fire facilities, among other places, if they are considered safe and assure that the child will be promptly discovered.
A family in the parish has already offered to adopt the infant, Heanue said.