The priest who anointed, blessed, and prayed with Katie Lentz has stepped forward. Father Patrick Dowling of the Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City (Mo.) was traveling last Sunday morning, August 12, when he halted at the scene of the horrendous crash which left 19-year old Katie Lentz critically injured and pinned in her wrecked automobile after she was struck head-on by a drunken driver. Witnesses reported that a mystery priest came forward during the rescue to pray with Katie and then disappeared. Fr. Dowling said that although the highway was blocked off, “I did not leave with the other cars,” He remarked that he parked as close as he could, “and walked the remaining 150 yards. I asked the Sheriff if a priest might be needed … on checking, he permitted me to approach.” Many of the rescuers as well as members of Katie’s family have described Fr. Dowling as an “angel” who calmed everyone at the accident scene and whose prayer coincided with the arrival of badly needed equipment that quickly freed Katie from the wreckage.
Once Katie was removed from her vehicle, Fr. Dowling explained, “I then shook hands with the Sheriff, and thanked him, as I left. I have to admire the calmness of everybody involved. The Highway Patrol sergeant was amazingly calm and completely in control. Everybody worked with the harmony of a Swiss watch.”
Fr. Dowling explained to the Catholic News Agency that he gave Katie an Anointing of the Sick as well as absolution. He described these are the normal duties of a priest in such a situation.
A native of Ireland, Fr. Patrick Dowling was ordained a priest for the Jefferson City diocese in 1982. He has served at several parishes in the diocese, as well as its two mission parishes in Peru. He currently serves in prison ministry and serves the Spanish-speaking population of the Diocese of Jefferson City.
Source: Catholic News Agency