SHARECOMMENTMORE

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KSDK) - The mystery priest who appeared at an accident scene in eastern Missouri last week came forward in the comments section of astory about the incidentin the National Catholic Register Friday.

The Diocese of Jefferson City has confirmed his identity as Rev. Patrick Dowling, a priest of the Jefferson City Diocese. He was traveling on Highway 19 between Mass assignments on Aug. 4 in northern and central Missouri.

"I had Mass in Ewing, Mo as the regular priest was sick," Dowling wrote. "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 absolved and anointed Katie and, at her request, prayed that her leg would not be 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."

Dowling, a native of Kilkenny, Ireland, was ordained a priest at the Diocese of Jefferson City, Mo. in 1982. He has served parishes in Moberly, Monroe City, Indian Creek, Milan, Unionville and Eldon, Mo., according to a news release. He is currently serving in prison ministry and in parish ministry to Spanish-speaking Catholics.

On Aug. 4, Katie Lentz, a student at Tulane University, was driving from her parents' home in Quincy, Ill. to Jefferson City, Mo., when her car collided with another vehicle. Lentz had life-threatening injuries, and was trapped in the vehicle.

She asked someone to pray with her, and says a voice said "I will." She claimed that a silver-haired priest came forward to pray with her, and stayed until Lentz was airlifted away from the scene. Rescue workers and Lentz never learned the priest's identity.

Read the full comment from Dowling below:

"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."

Below is the full statement from the Diocese of Jefferson City:

The Diocese of Jefferson City has identified the priest who assisted at the site of the Sunday morning, August 4, 2013 auto accident near Center, Mo. He is Rev. Patrick Dowling, a priest of the Jefferson City Diocese. Fr. Dowling was travelling Hwy 19 between Mass assignments that morning in northern and central Missouri.

Fr. 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.

Fr. Dowling, a native of Kilkenny, Ireland, was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Jefferson City, Mo., in 1982. He has served at parishes in Moberly, Monroe City, Indian Creek, Milan, Unionville and Eldon, Mo., and in the diocese's mission parishes in Marcona and Nasca, Peru.

He is currently serving in prison ministry and in parish ministry to Spanish-speaking Catholics.

SHARECOMMENTMORE