Welcome to SEEDS.  This blog shares real-life examples of faith in action – people living out the gospel in their every day lives.  We hope that these stories will take root in your heart and bear fruit in your own life and actions.  Further, that you will sow these SEEDS stories, sharing them with others as a way of spreading the good news of our Lord and encouraging a deepening of their faith.

SEEDS was borne out of a conversation between pastor Father Len and Deacon Candidate Mike Lavallato who was seeking a parish-based pastoral project required as part of his final year of formation.  Leveraging this electronic medium, we hope SEEDS will reach many who might not otherwise visit the parish website --  or connect stories of faith in action with the media, pop culture and every-day life situations.

If you have a story, experience or idea you’d like to include on SEEDS, please send a note to seeds@ollwhs.org along with any content (e.g., photos, video, web links or other material).


“Faith in action is love, and love in action is service. By transforming that faith into living acts of love, we put ourselves in contact with God Himself, with Jesus our Lord.”      --  St. Teresa of Calcutta

The Last Shall Be First

Posted on October 26, 2016

“Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing!”  This well-known adage often is attributed to legendary football coach, Vince Lombardi.  Well, it is evident that Mr. Lombardi never had the privilege of coaching long distance runners.

At the 2016 Rio Olympics, an unplanned meeting of twenty-four year old American Abbey D’Agostino and New Zealand's Nikki Hamblin demonstrated that a "win at all cost" mindset couldn't be more off track!  Prior to competing on this particular day (a qualifying event for the 5,000 meter final), the two women had never met.  But the sequence of events that transpired not only would capture the attention of the Rio spectators present and millions around the world, it would forever link these two athletes.  Watch this video summary.

Hamblin told reporters, "When I went down, I was like, 'What’s happening, why am I on the ground?' And suddenly there's this hand on my shoulder like 'Get up, get up, we have to finish this!'"
D’Agostino reflected, “Although my actions were instinctual at that moment, the only way I can and have rationalized it is that God prepared my heart to respond that way. This whole time here, He's made clear to me that my experience in Rio was going to be about more than my race performance — and as soon as Nikki got up I knew that was it.”

Indeed.  It’s difficult to imagine working and training for four years (her entire adult life…literally!), working toward the moment to shine and then having that moment shattered in an instant.  Many competitors simply would have kept on running.  But D’Agostino’s instinctive response to turn and assist her fallen competitor was different.  Her actions bring to mind the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37).  While many say she embodied the “Olympic Spirit,” it seems pretty clear that Abbey D’Agostino’s heart was also filled with the Holy Spirit!

But wait … the story does not end there.  For her part, Hamblin had a little bit of the Good Samaritan in her as well.  As both women got up to resume the race, it was apparent D’Agostino had suffered severe injuries to her ankle and knee. The New Zealander returned the favor by helping her new friend up off the track when she had fallen again and encouraged her to continue.  Initially, D’Agostino could not, and she told Hamblin to carry on.  But moments later cameras were focused on D’Agostino, at this point far out of contention, valiantly struggling to make it around the track.  She was visibly in pain, but determined.

When asked how she was able to make it across the finish line with a banged-up right knee, she replied, “A miracle. “All I know is I prayed my way through the last four-and-a-half laps. My knee was like jelly… as soon as I tried to pick it up, it would start buckling. I’ve never done anything like that.”

Toward the end of his life, St. Paul shared how he had given fully of himself and, reflecting back how he had “competed well, finished the race and kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:6-8).  The reward for his faithfulness would be the day when he would be in the presence of the Lord.  

The two women in this story certainly are running along righteous paths very early in their lives.  Their actions on the world stage should inspire us to recognize, like St. Paul, our ultimate destination … and the roads -- right in front of us -- that can lead us there.  Even Vince Lombardi would have a tough time arguing otherwise!

Bookmark and Share  


# Parish Familly commented on
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
We just want to thank Mike and his family for introducing the Seed program to the parish. Mike really was water for the seeds in this community. A Deacon is someone who dedicates his time and Spirit to “serve” the community and the Church. Mike served us in so many ways. We are grateful. He will truly be missed. May the gift of God’s Mercy, which Mike demonstrated here on earth, be upon his soul.
God Bless Mike and the Lavallato Family.

Post Comment

Name (required)

Email (required)

Enter the code shown above:

Signing the eyes