For several days this month folks in New London, Missouri wondered if they had a case of a mystery angel priest on their hands. An unknown person showed up at the site of an automobile crash on August 8, 2013 in time to absolve and bless 19-year-old college student Katie Lentz, who was trapped in her wrecked vehicle.
According to police, a 26-year-old driver had crossed the road’s center line and struck Lentz’s car head-on. Rescue workers spent about 45 minutes trying get the girl out and eventually resorted to flipping the car over. Before they did, however, she asked that someone pray for her. Although about 70 photographs were taken at the scene during the rescue, the mysterious priest was not in any of them.
According to an article in USA Today, New London Fire Chief Raymond Reed said, “I think it’s a miracle.” Many residents echoed that sentiment because the priest could not be located at any of the local Catholic churches. However, the ‘angel’ was later identified as Rev. Patrick Dowling of the Jeffersen City Diosese.
Rev. Dowling said in a Fox News story that he had to perform a Mass that day at a church in nearby Ewing, since the priest there was ill. On his way back from the church, he came upon the accident.
“I absolved and anointed Katie, and at her request, prayed that her leg would not hurt,” he said. “Then I stepped aside to where some rescue personnel and the (rescue helicopter) pilot were waiting, and praying the rosary silently.”
Once rescued, Lentz was flown by helicopter to a local hospital where she is currently recovering. Lentz believes that the good reverend helped her during her moments of crisis.
See Part 2: Do real angels help people in distress?