Shy Samaritan or genuine miracle?- Updated

Earlier this week, I wrote about the man, apparently a priest, who prayed with the workers trying to free Katie Lentz from a crashed car in Missouri and asked the question about whether the priest was an angel, as some suggested, or just a good person not interested in the publicity.

That question was answered earlier this week when the good Samaritan, Father Patrick Dowling of the Jefferson City Diocese came forward (reported by Fox News).  Father Dowling was in the area to celebrate a Mass in Ewing, MO, where the regular priest was ill.  He came upon the site of the crash and drove closer when it was safe to do so, according to a posting he made on the National Catholic Register last Friday night.  He only approached the car after obtaining permission from the Sheriff in charge of the scene.

In his words:

“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 (rescue helicopter) pilot were waiting, and prayed the rosary silently.

I left when the helicopter was about to take off …”

Clearly the identity of the ‘mystery man’ is resolved but the other question I previously asked still remains.

The fact is that Father Dowling prayed with Katie and the rescue crew.  Shortly after that, new equipment arrived and, unlike the earlier equipment, it was sufficient to complete the rescue successfully.  Was that just a coincidence or was it an answer to the prayers?

What do you think?


I am a writer of fantasy, science fiction, and poetry.  The themes I blog about run through my work.  If you are interested in learning more about me or my work, check out my website at



Shy Samaritan or genuine miracle?

By now, many people have heard about the car accident in Missouri and the priest that appeared to pray with the victim, then disappeared.  Was this the appearance of an angel, as some have suggested, or just a good Samaritan who does not want publicity?

Stories vary in their description of the details but here are the facts:

  • Katie Lentz was traveling along Highway 19 in northeastern Missouri when she was struck by an apparently drunk driver who crossed over the center line into her path
  • Emergency workers tried to free Katie from the car for a sizable length of time (reports vary between 45 minutes and 1.5 hours) without success, as her Mercedes resisted their efforts
  • After the crash, the highway was closed in both directions (distance of the closure varies from half a mile to 2 miles in reports)
  • Rescue workers decided to try the risky process of turning the car upright.  This is risky because as the position changes, items may shift and do additional damage.
  • Katie asked the workers if someone would pray with her.
  • A man wearing the black shirt and clerical collar of a priest approached and said he would pray with her.  He apparently was carrying anointing oil.  Several of the workers prayed with him.  Nobody noticed the man prior to his stepping forward.
  • The car was successfully turned upright, without further injury to Katie.
  • Rescue workers from a nearby town arrive with new equipment, described in one article as jaws of life.  With the new equipment, Katie was successfully freed and taken to a nearby hospital.
  • Workers looked for the stranger to thank him but were unable to find him.

Since that time, police have examined a large number (reports vary but apparently there were over 60) of photographs taken at the crash site.  The stranger is not in any of them.  This may be because photographers were concentrating on the victim and the crash or because the man was not there.

The man has not been identified.  He is not connected with any of the Catholic churches in the area.  Fox News posted an artists sketch of the man, as described by witnesses, in an attempt to find him.

Was this an angel or a helpful stranger?  Even if he was just a man, was this still a miracle?  Did the power of prayer result in the change in the fortunes of the rescue crews or just make everyone feel more positive?

What do you think?

For my part, if it was a man he clearly does not want to be identified nor given credit.  The police do not intend to try to find him.  I would encourage the news media to do the same.


Mail Online

USA Today

Huff Post

Fox News


I am a writer of fantasy, science fiction, and poetry.  The themes I blog about run through my work.  If you are interested in learning more about me or my work, check out my website at