On the night of Jan. 4, Nathan Leonhardt was locking up the Cathedral of St. Paul in Minneapolis when he found something extraordinary.
Inside the church doors was a newborn baby boy. Shortly after 6 p.m., local police officers received a call that the baby had been abandoned at the Cathedral.
“I was speechless. I froze for what seemed to be 10 seconds, but it was probably more,” stated Leonhardt, according to the Catholic Herald.
“They picked a good spot to drop him off. It’s a church – we love children,” Leonhardt continued.
Upon the police officers’ arrival, Sgt. Charlie Anderson said that “everybody in that call instantly fell in love” with the child, according to CBA Minnesota.
“In this job you see so much bad in people. Violence, death and destruction. It’s just nice to have a call like this every once in a while, to remind you why you wear the badge,” Sgt. Charlie Anderson stated.
Fr. Ubel baptized the child while waiting for the responders, and named him Nathan John, after the Cathedral custodian who found him. It is Fr. Ubel’s hope that the child will be adopted by a Catholic family. The baby is now in the care of the Ramsey County Child Protective Services.
“The fact that this child was left off at a Catholic church is not an insignificant detail to me,” stated Fr. Ubel.
This case was also something particularly special for Sgt. Anderson, who had been married at the Cathedral of St. Paul and also attended the seminary there for a few years. He is also a father of three children, saying that the call “tugged at his heartstrings.”
When the police arrived at the Cathedral, they knew that they had to makes sure the baby was warm before they transferred him to the Children’s Hospital. According to Sgt. Anderson, the group of responders gathered together for group hug and made sure the baby had enough heat.
But, the officers didn’t go home after that. Instead, they went shopping for the child and bought him some essentials that were delivered to the hospital.
“We picked up some onesies, a bouncer seat, some booties, a monkey hat, a Sophie giraffe toy that all my kids loved,” Sgt. Anderson said.
Although the baby seemed to have been born prematurely, weighing about 5 pounds, he is now safe and in good health. The police are not opening an investigation into the case, and Sgt. Anderson wants the mom to know that she is not in trouble.
In the future, Sgt. Anderson hopes that he will be able to see the child again, saying that the incident will stay with him forever.
“I’ll always think of him. And hopefully one day if that opportunity presents itself, I can think of nothing better.”