Mystery solved! Priest who performed miracle at Missouri crash comes forward

Remember the story of the “angel” priest who seemed to miraculously appear when a trapped accident victim asked for prayers? Well, turns out he was not from the great beyond as was vaguely speculated when the story first appeared on newsstands. He finally revealed his identity. He is just a humble priest who did his calling and probably rejuvenated the faith of those who witnessed the incident in a higher being.

I guess he did not want to leave too many people wondering for too long. Wish there were more like him. May God bless him and continue to use him as an example of who a true priest is.

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Father Patrick Dowling, of the Diocese of Jefferson City, came forward by posting a comment on a Catholic news site. The priest suddenly appeared when Katie Lentz — who was trapped in her mangled car for over an hour — asked to pray.

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BY / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

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Father Patrick Dowling, of the Diocese of Jefferson City, was revealed as the mystery priest who suddenly appeared at a Missouri crash to help a victim pray — but then disappeared after the woman was saved.

There’s no mystery to this Father Dowling — he’s a prince of a priest.

Father Patrick Dowling revealed himself as the priest who suddenly appeared at a Missouri car crash to pray with a 19-year-old woman before she was saved — but he stopped short of calling his act a miracle.

Dowling came forward by posting a comment on the Catholic News Agency‘s story about the drunken driver who caused the crash that left Katie Lentz trapped inside her mangled Mercedes-Benz on Aug. 4.

“I thank God and the amazingly competent rescue workers,” wrote the priest, who bears little resemblance to actor Tom Bosley‘s lead character in the old hit series, “Father Dowling Mysteries.”

Emergency workers struggled to free Lentz, who wasn’t saved until praying with Father Patrick Dowling — who suddenly appeared when the teen asked to pray.

KHQA

Emergency workers struggled to free Lentz, who wasn’t saved until praying with Father Patrick Dowling — who suddenly appeared when the teen asked to pray.

“I thank them for making me welcome in such a highly charged situation and allowing me to minister as a priest,” he said.

Dowling, of the Diocese of Jefferson City, told the news agency that he happened by the Center, Mo., wreck while driving away from a church where he had just celebrated Mass.

A quarter-mile stretch of the cornfield-lined road had been closed for first responders to work, but Dowling parked as close as he could to the emergency equipment.

“I asked the sheriff if a priest might be needed,” Dowling recalled. “On checking, he permitted me to approach.”

Katie Lentz, 19, was trapped in her Mercedes-Benz for more than an hour after a boozed-up driver smashed into her car on  a Missouri road.

KATIE LENTZ VIA FACEBOOK

Katie Lentz, 19, was trapped in her Mercedes-Benz for more than an hour after a boozed-up driver smashed into her car on a Missouri road.

The priest, who was carrying anointing oil, said he walked up to the crumpled car and began talking to Lentz, whose health was beginning to fail.

“When the young lady asked that I pray her leg stop hurting, I did so,” Dowling said. “She asked me to pray aloud and I did briefly.”

The holy man said he tried to avoid getting in the way of the struggling crew of first responders, who had been trying to get Lentz – who was pinned between her seat and the steering wheel – out of the vehicle for almost an hour.

“It was a very well-built car,” New London Fire Chief Raymond Reed told KHQA-TV soon after the wild ordeal. “And when you compact materials like that one, they become even stronger because you’re cutting through multiple things instead of one layer.”

Katie Lentz, 19, was pinned between her seat and the steering wheel for more than an hour until a mystery priest suddenly arrived and performed an apparent miracle.

KHQA

Katie Lentz, 19, was pinned between her seat and the steering wheel for more than an hour until a mystery priest suddenly arrived and performed an apparent miracle.

 

The Irish-born Dowling said stayed in the background and silently said his rosary as another team of smoke-eaters with the Hannibal Fire Department arrived with fresh tools.

“You must remember, there were many people praying there – many, many people,” Dowling told CNA. “I was probably part of the answer to their prayers … (but) I did not say anything like the machinery would begin to work, or they would succeed in getting her out of the car.”

He said the emergency workers had been working seamlessly.

“The Highway Patrol sergeant was amazingly calm and completely in control,” Dowling said. “Everybody worked with the harmony of a Swiss watch.”

Soon after Dowling appeared, Lentz was freed from the car. She was air lifted to a local hospital, where she underwent several surgeries before her condition was stabilized.

The responders at the time gave the mystery man in black the credit for saving Lentz’s life.

“As a first responder, you don’t know what you’re going to run into,” Reed told KHQA-TV. “In this particular case, it is my feeling that it was nothing more than sheer faith and nothing short of a miracle.”

Aaron Smith, 26 — the driver accused of causing the wild crash — faces a slew of charges that include DWI, assault and failure to drive on the right half of the roadway.

jkemp@nydailynews.com

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