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Parishioners at a Queens church where a newborn was left in a manger name the baby

The NYPD says a custodian at Holy Child

The NYPD says a custodian at Holy Child Jesus Church in Richmond Hill, Queens, found an infant wrapped in towels, lying in the Nativity manger, on Monday, Nov. 23, 2015. Credit: Fr. Chistopher Heanue

The newborn left in a Queens church does not yet have a legal name but parishioners, who have opened their hearts to him, have two suggestions: John and Emanuel.

Rev. Christopher R. Heanue, the administrator of Holy Child Jesus Church, in Richmond Hill, said Saturday that both names reflect how the abandonment of the baby boy -- perhaps just five hours old --last Monday in a manger at the church has resonated with parishioners.

John, after John the Baptist, is one choice because "He came before Jesus, announcing the coming of the savior," the priest said by telephone.

"In sort of a similar way this child comes just four weeks before Jesus' arrival."

Another parishoner suggested the infant, whose mother placed him in the church's creche about midday on Monday, be named Emanuel because it means "God is with us."

"What a beautiful message it was, it is, for people, for life, and for finding hope in the midst of trial," Heanue said.

It was only a few years ago that the church decided to leave its doors open in daytime.

"If we hadn't had such an open, warm welcoming church, if our doors were locked . . . I think she found in this creche, where Jesus will be welcomed in a few short weeks, a place that was welcoming enough for her son," the priest said.

The mother, whose name had not been made public, placed her son in the manger because it was warmest place in the church, according Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. No charges will be filed, Brown's office said.

The infant was turned over to the New York City Administration for Children's Services.

"The child is safe and healthy in a hospital," a city official said, declining to say anything further. The city typically tries to place children with relatives first.

A handful of parishioners wish to adopt the baby boy, Heanue said.

"We have a number of people within the community that would love to see him stay with us . . . He's a member in our hearts. There's really a connection that people have felt over the past few days," he said.

Parents who wish to adopt the infant should call 877-676-WISH (9474) or visit:

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