'You Did It to Me'

"In You Did It to Me, Fr. Michael Gaitley [... Read more

Buy Now

Brendan Pearl believes the manner in which he received Dominik Pettey's memorial card was an act of God.

'I Knew God Was Reaching Out to Me'

Print this story

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter


By Melanie Williams (Feb 23, 2018)
It was Nov. 1, 2014, at 2 a.m. A disabled car filled with teenagers was parked by the side of a highway in Bethesda, Maryland, when it was rammed by an SUV that had drifted onto the shoulder. One of the teens, Dominik "Dom" Pettey, was killed instantly.

Dom, 17, was a high school senior, star hockey player, and all-around "great guy," according to those who knew him. As a child, his family visited the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Poland, where he played with the sisters and ran up to the tomb of St. Faustina to kiss and lay upon it. As a teenager, Dom didn't preach his love for Jesus from a soap box, but friends and fellow students could see it in the genuineness of his smile and the kindness of his gestures towards others.

We featured the story of Magdalena and Patrick Pettey's witness of faith and trust in Jesus since the passing of their son Dom in our August 2016 issue of our Friends of Mercy newsletter, in an article entitled, "Tragic Death Makes an Apostle of Mercy." Since his passing, Dom Pettey has been touching countless lives through Divine Mercy.

His parents saw to it that an Image of Divine Mercy was placed in front of the altar at the funeral Mass and on the memorial cards so as to spread the message of Divine Mercy to all those in attendance. His funeral Mass drew a standing-room-only crowd at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. Those memorial cards with the Image and Chaplet of Divine Mercy have been a means through which Dom has become an apostle of mercy to thousands of people.

One of those touched is Brendan Pearl, a sophomore at the University of Delaware. The way in which he received Dom's prayercard seems to have been an act of God.

Brendan, originally from Syracuse, New York, was a high school junior when Dom was killed. He didn't know Dom, nor anyone who knew him. He was scrolling through his Twitter feed on Nov. 1, 2014, when he saw the news story of the accident.

"I read the article and realized that he was a kid just like me," Brendan said. "He was around the same age as me, and we were both high school athletes. He had his whole life ahead of him. It really impacted me, thinking that it could happen to anyone — any one of my friends, my siblings, or even me."

Brendan continued to follow Dom's story through news postings and hashtags on Twitter. Raised in a Catholic household, Brendan always made his faith a priority, so he began praying for the Pettey family. He told a couple of his friends about the tragedy, but other than that, he kept it to himself.

Fast forward to the fall semester of Brendan's freshman year at the University of Delaware. Going into class one day, he went to sit in the same seat he sat in every day. On that day, though, there was something different; there was a little prayercard sitting on his desk. He sat down, turned it over, and was dumbfounded by what he saw. It was Dom's funeral card with his face, his name, and the Divine Mercy Image and Chaplet.

"To me, that was an example of divine intervention," Brendan said. "I was one of the first people in the classroom that day. There were plenty of empty desks. And that prayercard was on my desk. Knowing what that story meant for me, and that I had no other connection to him, I knew that it was God reaching out to me."

This apparent sign lit a fire in his faith.

"I can see now that God has a plan for all of us, and we may never know exactly what it is. Your life could come to an end at any moment, and I've learned that there's no point in living a life that you wouldn't be happy with if something happens to you or someone around you. A relationship with God is something you need — I know that He's there and He's listening to everything I have to say. I know He wants to help us to do what's best and follow His plan."

Brendan had been keeping Dom's prayercard in his wallet ever since it showed up on his desk, to remind him that God is with him. But then his bag went missing at school, and with it, the prayercard. His friend Kendall, a fellow student at the university, knew how much the prayercard had meant to Brendan. After some Internet searching, she found contact information for the Pettey family. The Petteys were thrilled to hear how their son is still impacting people's lives more than three years after his death. They sent another prayercard to Brendan; he carries the card in his wallet. From Dom to Brendan, from Brendan to those around him, God continues to spread His mercy, one soul at a time.

Print this story

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter


Be a part of the discussion. Add a comment now!