Car Crash 'Angel' Identified: Missouri Miracle Priest Just a Priest

Image: Car Crash 'Angel' Identified: Missouri Miracle Priest Just a Priest

Tuesday, 13 Aug 2013 11:29 AM

By Michael Mullins

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The "angel" priest who appeared at the scene of a Missouri car crash has been identified. The priest made national headlines last week after praying at the scene of the crash, then quickly disappearing.

He is the Rev. Patrick Dowling of the Jefferson City Diocese.

Dowling, a native of Kilkenny, Ireland, had reportedly been traveling between Mass assignments in northern and central Missouri when he noticed the accident, apparently from an adjacent road, and decided to pull over to offer assistance, according to a diocese press release provided to Fox News.

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On Friday night, Dowling identified himself on the National Catholic Register website, posting a comment below the article which apparently went unnoticed by the media at large until this week.

"I had Mass in Ewing MO as the regular priest was sick," Dowling writes in his post. "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 (rescue helicopter) pilot were waiting, and prayed the rosary silently," the Roman Catholic priest added in the post. "I left when the helicopter was about to take off, and before I got to my car."

The crash occurred shortly after 9 a.m. Sunday along Missouri Route 19 near Center, Mo., KHQA reported.

According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, 26-year-old Aaron Smith crossed the center line and struck 19-year-old Katie Lentz head-on, trapping her in the crushed vehicle for the next hour and a half as rescue crews attempted to extricate her.

New London Fire Chief Raymond Reed said rescue crews had been unsuccessful in rescuing Lentz until the priest prayed over the scene.

"He came up and approached the patient, and offered a prayer," Reed told KHQA. "It was a Catholic priest who had anointing oil with him. A sense of calmness came over her, and it did us as well."

Reed then recalled hearing a voice that reassured him of his effort to free the girl from the crushed vehicle.

"I can't be for certain how it was said, but myself and another firefighter, we very plainly heard that we should remain calm, that our tools would now work and that we would get her out of that vehicle," Reed said.

And that's what happened. Extra crews arrived with new equipment and Lentz was freed, then airlifted to an area hospital with severe injuries including multiple broken bones.

Though Dowling acknowledged being the priest who attended to Lentz at the scene, the Irishman tells the National Catholic Register that the consoling words that Reed and another firefighter heard at the scene were not from him.

"I didn't say another word [after the prayer]," he said. "I did not say anything like the machinery would begin to work or they would succeed in getting her out of the car. That did not come from my lips, though two people heard it."

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