We went to the Children’s Christmas Mass at St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church this evening. Our Pastor, Father Jim McDougall, has a tradition each year where he asks all the children to come up and sit around him in front of the altar. He incorporates them into his homily and everyone has a good time.

Then comes my favorite part.

Father Jim asks the kids for whom we, as a congregation, should pray. I love it because you just never know what the kids will say. Oh, we get the expected prayers for parents, grandparents, friends, and pets. Of course, we almost always prayer for Jesus and Santa Claus (not necessarily in that order). Then we get a few from out in left field. One year I remember we prayed for “SpongeBob” and this time around we offered up our intentions for sheep and candy canes.

You just never know.

And that brings me to a point about networking, because, well, you just never know. You never know exactly what’s on the other person’s mind. You never know the goals they’re seeking. You never know the successes they’ve had. You never know the pain they are in. In short, you just never know what you can do for them.

Unless you ask.

And when you get a response, like Father Jim, you have to figure out what to do with the information. With him, instead of “sheep” the prayer is “for all those in our care” or “candy canes” become prayers of thanks “for the abundance in our lives”. In our case, whatever our connections needs might be, we have to decide whether we can help or if we know someone who can. We might even only be able to help by spreading the word to our own networks to seek a solution to the problem.

Whatever the case might be, the process starts by s showing a genuine interest and concern for their needs.

A stronger network goes on from there.