Angel Priest

21 01 2019

It was a pleasant surprise when the relentless fog of bad media enveloping on Catholic priesthood was momentarily lifted by a bright ray of sunshine. In August 4, 2013, a young woman, Katie Lentz was trapped inside her crushed Mercedes Benz rammed by a drunken truck driver. Her life was slowly ebbing away. The rescue workers huffed and puffed as they cut and drilled trying to free her, but were getting nowhere. They were about to give up when a priest appeared and asked the sheriff if a priest was needed. He was carrying a bottle of anointing oil. The sheriff said yes and the priest knelt by the wrecked car and started talking with the young woman inside. She asked him to pray that her leg stops hurting. He did so.  She asked him to pray aloud, he did and absolved her from her sins, anointed her with oil”

He then stepped aside to allow the workmen continue their jobs.

Shortly after, things began to work and the workmen cut and pulled the woman out of the wreck. She was immediately flown to a hospital and survived. When they turned to thank the priest, he was nowhere to be found.

The workmen where unanimous, a miracle had occurred. They all agreed that the priest’s prayers helped pull this off. The officials at the scene said it seemed he appeared from nowhere, and he couldn’t be found in any pictures taken at the scene and left without anyone seeing where he went.

She survived but, for days, no one could figure out who the priest was, and the media was agog.

“Mystery Angel priest appears at Missouri Car crash” one headline went.

“The power of prayer and the Miraculous Angel priest,” screeched another.

At last the priest in question caught wind of the hubbub and quietly came out. Fr. Dowling, for that is his name, said that he was pleased that he was able to help by performing his ordinary ministry and noted that that he was just one of many who responded to assist the victim at the accident. “I think there may have been angels there too,” he added.

Fr Dowling

He was a good priest, and like all good priests, took no credit for what happened, rather, he selflessly attributed the success to others.

Suddenly, the story was no longer sensational, not even entertaining.

“Mystery Angel priest is just an ordinary priest who did nothing,” scoffed one headline.

 Disappointed, the media moved on in search of other sensations. They are like children who had flocked in looking for ghost stories and found an ordinary priest who had no wings, and couldn’t vanish.

 Search for the extraordinary, celebration of scandals and lethargic indifference to common place things are traits of today’s media culture, often at the mercy of the unscrupulous who, spurred by money, no doubt, fabricate titillating stories that are rewarded with instant media attention.  

Yet ordinary life is chockfull of miracles and God works great miracles from the ordinary. So as the world reels from the ugly acts of some priests, it’s worth remembering that there are plenty of good priests like Fr. Dowling, whose prayers, self effacing work and ordinary priestly duties makes the world a better place yet never acknowledged or celebrated by the media.

Katie Lentz

Out of hospital, and on her 20th birthday, Katie Lentz finally met Fr. Dowling and was so happy.

 “I feel so honored to be with such a man of faith,” she said. “He was there to do his job the day of the accident, and I’m so thankful he was there.”

Katie Lentz meets Angel priest

Chinwuba Iyizoba


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