News Headlines > Newborn found on steps of Catholic cathedral in good health

09 January 2017 | by Catholic News Service

Newborn found on steps of Catholic cathedral in good health

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The priest said he is grateful that the mother chose not to abort the baby

A newborn baby found on the doorstep of a cathedral in Minnesota is in good health after the rector and custodian of the cathedral cared for him in the sacristy while awaiting emergency services.

Nathan Leonhardt discovered the bundle, wrapped in a plastic laundry basket, as he was locking up the Cathedral of St Paul following evening Mass on 4 January. The rector, Father John Ubel, baptised the child while waiting for police and an ambulance to arrive.

Minnesota law allows a mother to leave a newborn in a safe place, such as a hospital or urgent care clinic, within seven days of birth, without having to answer any questions from the police. However, a church is not classified as one of those places. A spokesman for the police said they are not pursuing the case as a criminal matter.

When he first saw the basket with a blanket on top, Mr Leonhardt thought someone had left laundry on the steps to the church foyer. He then heard a noise from the basket and thought it might be a puppy. When he removed the blanket, he saw the baby's face.

"I was speechless," he said. "I froze for what seemed to be 10 seconds, but it was probably more." He said the infant appeared to be recently born because he was still covered in blood and mucus and had not been washed. The umbilical cord was cut and clamped with a binder clip.

Father Ubel visited the hospital later in the evening but was unable to see the child. Police informed him that the baby was likely born slightly premature, weighed about 5 pounds, and is in good health.

The priest said he is grateful that the mother chose not to abort the baby. He is is also proud of Leonhardt's quick actions.

"The fact that this child was left off at a Catholic church is not an insignificant detail to me," Father Ubel said. "I think it's important that this child be given up for adoption, and there would be many willing Catholic couples who would welcome this child into their home."

The baby has been placed for the meantime in the care of Ramsey County Child Protective Services.

Photo - stock image of a baby

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