Rev. Patrick Dowling comes forward as 'mystery priest' who prayed at Missouri car crash scene

8:38 AM, Aug 13, 2013   |    comments
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Video: Mystery priest from Missouri car crash scene identified

Father Patrick Dowling was identified by the Diocese of Jefferson County as the priest who prayed with the victim of an auto accident earlier this month. (Photo: The Diocese of Jefferson County)

 

(USA TODAY) -- The mystery priest who appeared at the scene of a critical accident last week in eastern Missouri involving a teen girl has been identified as the Rev. Patrick Dowling, KDSK and other news agencies are reporting.

The diocese of Jefferson City, Mo., identified the clergyman after he stepped forward in the comments section of a story about the incident in the National Catholic Register.

WATCH: Father Dowling talks about praying at the accident scene

Emergency responders had been working on extricating Katie Lentz, 19, from her damaged vehicle for at least 45 minutes when they saw her condition was drastically deteriorating. When Lentz asked if those around her would pray with her out loud, the priest stepped forward and said he would.

After emergency responders successfully removed the teen from the wreckage and sent her off to the hospital via helicopter, they went to thank the priest and found he'd disappeared.

Dowling wrote in the National Catholic Register that he was returning from mass when he came upon the accident scene.

"I absolved and anointed Katie and, at her request, prayed that her leg would not be hurt," the priest wrote. "I left when the helicopter was about to take off."

The story stirred the imaginations of many across the country, including some who speculated he might have been a monk who died in 1927.

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