The Missouri Mystery Priest, Identified

He wasn’t actually an angel; he just played one in real life. Check the comments under the article for one from a Father Patrick Dowling from 8:20 p.m. on Friday…

I had Mass in Ewing MO as the regular priest was sick. As I was returning, I arrived at the scene. The authorities were redirecting traffic. I waited till it was possible to drive up closer. I parked behind a large vehicle about 150 yards from the scene. I asked the Sheriff’s permission and approached the scene of the accident. I absolved and anointed Katie, and, at her request, prayed that her leg would not hurt. Then I stepped aside to where some rescue personnel and the pilot were waiting, and prayed the rosary silently. I left when the helicopter was about to take off, and before I got to my car it was on its way to Quincy. I was amazed at the calmness of the two Highway patrol men. The sergeant was completely in control, amazingly calm. Everybody worked as harmoniously as a Swiss watch despite the critical nature of the scene. I gave my name to one of the authorities, perhaps to the sergeant of Highway Patrol, explaining that I was returning having celebrated Mass at Ewing. It was the sergeant who, at the Sheriff’s request, gave me Katie’s name as I was leaving, so I could visit her in hospital—I assumed she would be taken to Columbia. I think there may have been angels there too and, in this context, I congratulate the fire team from New London and Hannibal, the Sheriff/deputies of Ralls County, the Highway Patrol personnel, the helicopter team, the nurses and all who worked so professionally. God has blessed your work. I hope the credit goes where it is due.

But interestingly enough, a follow-up comment from the same individual on Sunday at 6:45 a.m….


Folks, I would like to WITHDRAW, if that is possible, my comment of Friday last on this comment blog regarding the “mysterious priest.” It would be greatly appreciated both by myself and probably the family of the victim.

Either way, the Catholic diocese at Jefferson City sent a release to confirming Father Dowling’s presence at the scene…

The Diocese of Jefferson City has identified the priest who assisted at the site of the Sunday morning, August 4, 2013 auto accident near Center, Mo. He is Rev. Patrick Dowling, a priest of the Jefferson City Diocese. Fr. Dowling was travelling Hwy 19 between Mass assignments that morning in northern and central Missouri.

Fr. Dowling said that he is pleased that he was able to help by performing his ministry and noted that that he was just one of many who responded to assist the victim at the accident. He and the Diocese wish to acknowledge and thank the first responders, medical team and law enforcement personnel for their efforts that morning in aid of the young woman injured in the accident.

Fr. Dowling, a native of Kilkenny, Ireland, was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Jefferson City, Mo., in 1982. He has served at parishes in Moberly, Monroe City, Indian Creek, Milan, Unionville and Eldon, Mo., and in the diocese’s mission parishes in Marcona and Nasca, Peru.

He is currently serving in prison ministry and in parish ministry to Spanish-speaking Catholics.

As far as we’re concerned, our initial post on the aid Father Dowling provided stands…

There’s a God out there. He’ll come to our aid if we ask him to. The Lentzes can attest to that, and so can the firemen and other first responders on the scene in New London, Missouri on Sunday.

It makes no difference that the manifestation of God’s presence on that scene was a priest or something more supernatural. The miracle of Katie Lentz’ survival of that horrific crash, which the first responders credit to the presence Father Dowling offered on the scene, stands on its own.

If you want to ascribe that to blind luck or pure chance, fine. We choose to believe in more than that.

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