On Sunday morning, November 14th, a parishioner of St. Raymond of Peñafort found a newborn baby (only a few hours old) who’d been left in a pink duffel bag outside the church. Police say that the mother obviously didn’t give birth in a hospital, and are concerned for her health and well-being. The baby is in good health. Police are calling her “Baby Jane Doe,” but Fr. De Celles, the former St. Mary’s priest who is now pastor of St. Raymond’s, has unofficially named her “Mary Magdalene” (patroness of troubled women), and placed her under the protection of both that Mary, and the Virgin.
From everything I’ve seen and read, the parish has been outstanding in its response. They’ve welcomed Mary with open arms, repeatedly stressed the role of the Holy Spirit in ensuring the baby’s safety, reminding people why the Church is pro-life, expressing concern for the health and well-being of the mom, and generally being excellent witnesses to the Catholic thing. Fr. De Celles’ wrote a letter in response to this, saying, in part:
If any of you know anything about this mother, please either talk to me, or to the police, or encourage her to do so. I can’t speak for the police, but I just don’t think anyone really wants to see this poor woman punished. It seems to me that the main concern is for her wellbeing–especially her physical heath. And to reunite her with her baby, if possible.
I promise her that she will find many friends at St. Raymond’s, beginning with me. Friends who will stand by her in the days, weeks and months ahead, and not abandon her to her troubles. And friends who will help defend her in the remote case that some legal action is attempted against her.
In the meantime, we pray for Baby Mary and her mother, entrusting them to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the intercession and protection of the Blessed Mother, Mary, and to St. Mary Magdalene, and to their guardian angels.
You can find that letter, and links to news coverage (including the video below) here.