Friday, August 9, 2013

Pray out loud: The miracle on highway 19 (w/ update)

Update: The mystery priest has stepped forward and identified himself as Fr. Dowling from Jefferson Co. Missouri. This is how he recounts the incident:

"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."

The updated ABC NEWS story


Pray out loud: The miracle on highway 19:

Judge this one for yourself. With every story claiming to involve the extraordinary, I always exercise caution. This one is no exception. However, given the appearance of these eye witness testimonies, this story involving a mysterious priest at a horrific car accident scene is, at the very least, intriguing, if not, inspiring.

On August 4th, just last Sunday, Katie Lentz, 19 years of age, was driving down highway 19 when a drunk driver collided with her vehicle. As you can see from the picture that is posted, the situation was pretty bad. In fact, the first responders from the New London Fire Department in Missouri thought that it was hopeless. Katie was trapped in what looked like a heap of mangled and twisted metal or better yet, a compressed car one finds in a junk yard. Although she was severely injured, the young woman was conscious and was able to communicate with the responders.

The thing that astounded the rescuer workers is that Katie was calm as they were trying to cut through the metal. However, one of the New London rescue workers responsible for operating the "Jaws of Life" (the instrument used to cut away at the metal) thought it was a hopeless case. At one point, he didn't know if they could free Katie from the car. This futile effort to remove her from the compressed and mangled car lasted about an hour. It was about this time that Katie had asked if someone would pray "out loud" with her. It was then or soon after, that a Catholic priest approached the rescue workers.

You see, the road on both sides of the car accident had been blocked off about a quarter of a mile down the road. No one was permitted to get near the scene. Nevertheless, this priest- with a bottle of oil for the anointing of the sick -spoke to rescue workers. He asked if he could pray with her and then anoint her. However, they were reluctant to grant his request because they feared that it might send the wrong message to Katie: the message that they had given up on her. Yet, the mysterious priest insisted just the same. Moments later, he was allowed to pray with Katie; not only pray with Katie, but pray the rosary with her. It was at this point, she became even more calm than before.

As stated, for the first hour of the rescue, the workers were having no luck cutting through the metal. But this unnamed Catholic priest instructed everyone to be calm. Raymond Reed, fire chief of New London, actually said that the priest's assurance had a calming effect, not only with Katie, but with the anxious rescue workers. This is curious because a Catholic priest would be the last one to know whether or not their rescue efforts would be successful. Still, the priest was confident enough to say that the new instruments (the new "Jaws of Life"), which had just arrived on the scene, would prove successful. Indeed, he seemed to know in advance that they would be able to get Katie out of the vehicle. Sure enough, they got her out!

Utterly surprised and relieved that Katie could now be flown to a nearby hospital, they wanted to extend their thanks to the unnamed priest. It was as if they credited this mysterious visitor for turning what could have been a tragedy into a miracle. But he was nowhere to be found. Furthermore, in the 75-plus pictures that was taken of the accident scene, the priest was conspicuously absent in the photos.

"Pray out loud with me," Katie asked the rescue workers. Not just pray, but "pray out loud." If this story is as credible as it appears, one can say that God not only answered Katie Lentz's prayer, but he actually sent someone to help her pray...pray "out loud." And if Americans need to hear any message in 2013, it is that they need to pray "out loud." Her calmness and courage is a message to all of us that when we venture a little and outwardly express our need for God the impossible can be changed into the miraculous.

Katie Lentz's mother is requesting prayers for a full recovery. Please do so. But for more on this story, click on this link: ABC news story.  It is inspiring.