Odd story. The victim of a head-on car crash, nineteen year old Katie Lentz, was rescued from the wreckage after a mysterious Catholic priest seemingly appeared out of nowhere, armed with a bottle of anointing oil, and said a prayer for the victim. Now what is interesting is that rescuers had apparently been struggling for an hour trying to extricate Lentz when this happened. After the prayer - and after another fire department showed up - the rescue was finally successful.
The story is here in this Yahoo news item, and a fire chief involved explained it this way:
He came up and approached the patient, and offered a prayer, New London Fire Chief Raymond Reed told KHQA-TV. It was a Catholic priest who had anointing oil with him. 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.
The strangeness continued when rescuers turned to thank the priest and found he had apparently returned to the nowhere from which he came. As happens with people of a religious turn of mind, soon speculation began that this mystery priest might have been an angel instead of a priest.
USA Today also reported the story and also quotes Reed:
I think it's a miracle...I would say whether it was an angel that was sent to us in the form of a priest or a priest that became our angel, I don't know. Either way, I'm good with it.
Additional details were given, such as that the Lentz, the crash victim, asked for someone to pray with her. That was when the mysterious priest appeared. No one recognized the priest as being one of the locals. And then there is this, Chief Reed added: "I have 69 photographs that were taken from minutes after that accident happened — bystanders, the extrication, our final cleanup — and he's not in them."
The good news is that Katie Lentz is well on the road to recovery. Everyone involved in her rescue are reporting that she never screamed or cried, but just asked that she be prayed for and out loud.
Time was - and rather recently at that - that I would have picked this account apart and poked a little fun at it. But even if prayer is no more than a placebo, I think that isn't a small thing.
I suspect there is a more "natural" explanation than that the priest was really an angel. But to those involved in the rescue, and I'm sure to Katie's family, this was a brush with the divine. Had I been in Katie's shoes, I would have prayed, too.