Father Patrick Dowling has come forward to identify himself as the mystery angel priest who appeared on the scene of a Center, Missouri accident on August 4.
The mystery was sparked when 19-year-old accident victim Katie Lentz was trapped in her car after a suspected drunk driver struck her Mercedes. It took over an hour to remove her from the crushed car.
While the rescue workers were trying to free Lentz, the so-called mystery priest arrived on the scene and offered his help. Lentz asked him to pray with her, and he did.
After the rescue, the crew wanted to thank the so-called angel priest for his help. But the modest Father Dowling had vanished, leaving behind a mystery.
The story went viral as folks on the scene began to speculate that the mysterious priest might be an angel. Some people seemed to think it was remarkable that he wore black, carried the anointing oil, and spoke with a supposedly mysterious accent.
Apparently, some folks in Missouri need to get out more. Patrick Dowling is from Ireland, so the mysterious accent maybe shouldn’t have been that tough to identify.
Be that as it may, Father Dowling apparently found out about the search from the National Catholic Register. He left a comment (since removed) on their news article about the supposed mystery: “You must remember: There were many people praying there, many, many people — and they were all praying…I came by, and anointed, and absolved…”
Father Dowling said he gave Lentz the anointing of the sick. But he said that his actions were the normal duties of a priest, and he was careful not to get in the way of the rescue workers.
He told the Catholic News Agency on Monday, “I thank God and the amazingly competent rescue workers…for making me welcome in such a highly charged situation and allowing me to minister as a priest.”
Currently with the Jefferson City diocese, Father Patrick Dowling has also served in Peru. He’s probably seen a lot over the years. Yet the modest mystery angel priest sounded a little baffled by the fuss.
[Father Patrick Dowling photo Diocese of Jefferson City via Catholic News Agency]