After emergency responders spent an hour trying to remove a young woman from her wrecked car near Center, Mo., a priest appeared with anointing oil and prayed with her, and then inexplicably vanished.
“He came up and approached the patient and offered a prayer,” Raymond Reed, the New London, Mo., fire chief explained to KHQA-TV about the Aug. 4 incident.
“A sense of calmness came over her, and it did us as well. I can’t be for certain how it was said, but myself and another firefighter, we very plainly heard that we should remain calm, that our tools would now work and that we would get her out of that vehicle.”
Once the victim, Katie Lentz, was removed from her car and put into an Air Evac helicopter, the emergency responders wanted to thank the priest, but he had disappeared.
The two-lane Missouri state highway on which the crash occurred had been blocked off for a quarter of a mile throughout Lentz’ rescue, barring bystanders and nearby vehicles.
Lentz’ older-model Mercedes was struck by another car that had passed into her lane. That car’s driver has been charged with DWI.
Rescue workers spent an hour trying to get Lentz out of her car, but the solid materials of its construction were dulling the fire department’s emergency equipment.
Lentz eventually asked the workers to pray aloud with her, and at that time the priest appeared to pray with them and reassure them. Another fire department arrived with fresh equipment, and Lentz was removed from her car.
She is now in a local hospital, having already undergone surgery on some broken bones. She is in serious condition and faces further surgeries.
“All along the way, her foremost request is for people to pray and to pray out loud,” Luntz’ mother told KHQA-TV. “We would like nothing more than to carry that message forward for her.”
The priest's identity is unknown. According to KHQA, the Jefferson City Diocese has not “heard directly from any” of its priests about the incident.