“I was in the church shortly after midday to pray and I heard the baby crying,” said Father Thomas Rein, the parish priest of Peter and Paul Church in the village of Poettmes.
“We prepared the crib in the pre-Christmas period so children could lay fresh straw in it and ponder on the meaning of Jesus and Lo! There really was a Jesus-child in it!”
Fearing the newborn might develop hypothermia Father Rein covered him with the small red carpet that is usually used to kneel on during services and took him inside his house beside the church. It was there that he called an ambulance. The child, called Peter by the nurses after the church where he was found, remains at the Neuberger Paediatric Clinic. He is making good progress.
Church members are praying for Peter and his mother, who was found by police to be a 38-year-old local Romanian woman. She said that she left her baby in the manger in the hopes that someone could take better care of him.
Father Rein expressed his sympathy and concern for the mother. “A newborn child such as this is always a beautiful thing. But of course there lies behind that the great need of this woman,” he said. “She must be in some kind of difficult situation. The story has really moved the hearts of the people deeply.”
“We stand ready to help,” he said. “But it is also important that we first of all leave the mother in peace, so that she can make up her mind about the child. [article]