JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Diocese of Jefferson City announced that it has identified the priest who appeared out of nowhere to help save a woman from a car wreck. A release said that the priest is Reverend Patrick Dowling, a priest of the Jefferson City Diocese.
On the morning of August 4, Dowling was traveling between mass assignments in northern and central Missouri when he arrived at the scene. According to a comment he left on an article in the National Catholic Register, Dowling asked the Sheriff’s permission and approached the scene. He said he absolved and anointed Katie and prayed that her leg would be left unhurt, and then gave way to rescue personnel as he prayed the rosary silently.
The Diocese confirmed his comments and said that Dowling was pleased he could help through performing his ministry. He also said he was one of many that helped and thanked first responders, law enforcement and the medical team that assisted Katie Lentz. Dowling was on the highway because another priest had called in sick, he wrote.
His full comment was:
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.
Dowling works in prison ministry and with Spanish-speaking parishioners, the diocese said