By - August 13, 2013

Priest Found: Is It Any Less A Miracle?

Last Sunday a terrible head-on collision occurred in rural Missouri, initiated by a drunk driver.  This could have been a story anywhere in the US, except this one had one twist, a priest who seemly appeared out of nowhere, just as a pinned 19 year old girl asked the rescuers to pray with her.  As the story went, the priest prayed with the girl, Katie Lentz, and anointed Katie and her rescuers after which the rescuers obtained fresh equipment and were able to free the girl, but then the priest was gone.

Many believed, maybe even hoped this mystery priest was an angel and I will admit to being one of those.  However it appears the priest is a living, breathing human being.  Fr. Patrick Dowling just happened to be in the area after serving mass in a nearby town, for a priest who was sick.  Fr. Dowling  decided to make his identity known on a Catholic website that was covering the incident.  The statement release by Fr. Dowling is as follows:

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.

Now the question is; Is this any less a miracle?  Sure, obviously the once believed angel was just another human, but there exist some evidence which deserves a closer look.  Anybody can say that the fact the priest happened to be going in that direction at that time could serve as a minor miracle and we have all had occasions of the right place at the right time.

He happened along just as they were praying.  Yes, this is a little more right place at the right time, perhaps this is more providence, the hand of God at play.

Then there is the quote from the New London Fire Chief:

“I can’t say who said or where it come from, but myself and one of the other firefighters that was beside me, very plainly heard that, that we should remain calm that our tools would now work and that we would get her out of that vehicle”

If you go back to the statement from Fr. Dowling, he never stated he ever spoke those words, as one would expect.  Why would anybody make such a definite statement, when they don’t know for sure the tools necessary where just about to arrive?

Did the firefighters hear an angel whisper in their ears?  If it was just the Chief, I would say he heard what he wanted to hear, but it was two firefighters who heard the statement.

Maybe this was still a miracle, sure it’s not the magnitude of Lourdes or Fatima but there may have been some celestial help involved, even more than normal.  Remember the Lord said, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”  Well there was about 12 gathered in his name.  Did God respond?  Surely God did respond with one of his faithful priest, but was there more of a heavenly hand at work here?

Atheists and agnostics will probably say it was merely coincidence.  They will poke fun at those who have Faith in God.  To atheists God is a fairy tale and faith is wasted time, unless that faith is applied to the Big Bang Theory.  Yes, the theory that two objects, without any obvious beginnings (much like God) some how collided in the vacuum that is space and that collision spawned not only the many galaxies, but life itself.  That’s not going out on any kind of limb called faith!

I believe in miracles and good people and this story from Missouri is filled with both.

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