A priest at the church in New York city in which a baby was found swaddled and in a manger has described the incident as a "Christmas miracle."

A maintenance worker at the church was leaving for his lunch break when he heard the cries of the infant coming from the alter. 

Little did he know, a new-born baby had been left at a nativity scene in the church which had only been erected a few hours beforehand.

"I followed the cries. I walked to the little nativity home we had installed inside the church… I couldn’t believe my eyes," says Jose Moran, the church worker.

"The baby was wrapped in towels. He still had his umbilical cord attached and was next to the Virgin Mary." 

Police have CCTV footage of a women entering the church with a child and leaving empty handed. According to New York law, a person can leave a child at a safe haven such as a church or hospital without facing prosecution once they notify the appropriate person. 

As no one was notified of the newborn's presence, the police have stated that the mother of the child could face criminal charges if found. 

“God works in mysterious ways,” said a local priest to the Daily News. “[The child’s mother] must have been in a difficult place in her life.”

According to the priest, a young couple have already offered to adopt the child who has been nicknamed the 'baby Jesus'.