The “angel” priest may be a real person, not an angel, after all. Rev. Patrick Dowling has stepped forward and said he’s the one who appeared at the crash site, where Katie Lentz was trapped and called out, asking for prayer.
“Dowling was travelling Hwy 19 between Mass assignments that morning in northern and central Missouri,” said Diocese of Jefferson City spokesman Deacon Dan Joyce, in a statement.
“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.”
Dowling said that he parked behind a large vehicle about 150 yards from the scene and approached the scene of the accident, and prayed for Katie Lentz, then he left the scene.
The prayers helped everyone on the scene–the emergency responders and Lentz–become calm in a moment of crisis, after which the personnel were able to quickly rescue Lentz.
The situation was widely reported and people suggested that the priest who had shown up on the road, which was blocked for a quarter-mile each way during the 1.5 hour rescue, was an angel of some kind because he seemed to vanish after praying over the scene.
“Where did this guy come from?” Lentz’s friend Travis Wiseman asked after the incident. “We’re looking for the priest and so far, no one has seen him. Whether it was a priest as an angel or an actual angel, he was an angel to all those and to Katie.”
“We’re all local people from four different towns,” New London Fire Chief Raymond Reed said. “We’ve only got one Catholic church out of three towns and it wasn’t their priest.”
Other proof cited as to the spiritual nature of the priest was that out of 70-plus photos taken of the scene, he showed up in none of them.
No one at the scene has corroborated Dowling’s claim of being the priest as of yet.
Dowling wrote on a comment on the National Catholic Register that he was the priest but later asked to have the comment removed. He told the Register that “I thank them for making me welcome in such a highly charged situation and allowing me to minister as a priest.”
Lentz is currently recovering at a hospital, while the man that crashed into her, Aaron Smith, will be charged with crimes after an investigation wraps up soon.