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Priest ‘shocked and moved’ to find a newborn baby in a nativity manger

The baby was left at a church, a 'safe haven' according to New York law

A newborn baby is being hailed as a miracle after being found in the nativity manger of a church in Queens, New York City.

The boy was wrapped up in towels and had his umbilical cord attached, but was in good health.

Fr Christopher Heanue of Holy Child Jesus Church told BBC News: “I was shocked and yet really moved by it. The church is meant to be a home for those in need. Pope Francis preaches about mercy and this is a Year of Mercy and what more merciful can there be to give a home to someone in need.”

Bishop Octavio Cisneros, auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn, said: “The baby was wrapped in a towel. He was crying and so obviously well. He was breathing, he had good colour, his umbilical cord was still attached.”

The church is a “safe haven” under New York law, which means that a person cannot be prosecuted if they leave their child under five days old with a responsible person. Although the mother has been identified she will not be charged as she acted within the spirit of the safe haven law.