December 24, 2010 ( – I was moved in composing the Dec. 20 letter, “We must embrace conflict”. It seemed effortless and so natural to relate that phrase and our mission to the celebration and remembrance of the birth of Christ. Young Lia Mills was the inspiration for that one.

Another, even younger girl has recently also inspired my family and myself. I don’t know where petite 10-year-old Jackie Evancho and her family stand on the issues that LifeSiteNews covers. I suspect, from what I have seen of her family life and the types of songs that she sings, that she has been raised with solid principles.

I mention young Jackie because of a few YouTube videos that I recently discovered of her singing on America’s Got Talent. I really don’t like the contrived hype and conversations on those talent programs. However, young Jackie’s incredible performance of the classic Pie Jesu (Merciful Jesus), her signature song, gave me goose bumps. It is incomprehensible how a 10-year-old girl can sing like that, and she only started singing in public at age 8 and only practices an hour a day.

But the more important aspect is that Jackie Evancho performed a very spiritual song on that wildly popular US television program. That is a grace from God, and a wonderful viewing experience for you and your family for Christmas, if you have not already seen the brief video.

When you see her perform, please note that Jackie is singing the following words:

“Pie Jesu” (Merciful Jesus)
“Qui tollis peccata mundi” (Who takes away the sins of the world)
“Dona eis requiem” (Grant them rest)
“Agnus Dei” (Lamb of God)
“Qui tollis peccata mundi” (Who takes away the sins of the world)
“Dona eis requiem” (Grant them rest)
“Sempiternam” (Everlasting)

There are two other noteworthy performances by Jackie. One is “Time to say goodbye” with Opera and pop star Sarah Brightman”, where believe it or not, Jackie out sings Sarah, and another classic opera song, O Mio Babbino Caro.

I do have a concern for Jackie, however. The entertainment industry is a dangerously seductive one that robs most performers of their innocence and principles. The real power of Lia Mills and Jackie Evancho, as revealed by the Christ Child, is their innocence. Fame can demand a price. Please say a prayer for both of these exceptional young girls.

2010 has been our most eventful and challenging year, not only because of all the changes that LifeSiteNews has undergone, but more because of the great storm of events, both good and bad that have been occurring in the world. It has been astonishing, draining, but also often exhilarating.

And then, at Christmas we all slow way down, step back from our work, and are able to see it again in the inspiring perspective that Christmas always seems to reveal. God, family, friends, love, charity – there can be so many personal graces from Christmas – if one accepts and lives what it is really all about.

I love it.

It is also, of course, a difficult time for the lonely and those who have lost loved ones who we should visit and remember in prayers.

Speaking of losses, three dear friends went on to their eternal reward in just the past few weeks. I find it so appropriate that God took these exceptional people, who did so much good, to their eternal home just before Christmas. It was His ultimate Christmas gift to them.

We wrote a story on the passing of Heather Stilwell, a great Canadian pro-life leader and defender of the family. She was a wonderful woman, mother of 8 children – a “good and faithful servant”. The Interim newspaper did a more detailed column on her life that I highly recommend for inspiration at this time.

Patricia Gerretson, who with her husband Peter, who died in 2005, produced The Slippery Slope, the feature film The Kidnapping of Baby Doe and other pro-life themed movies, also just passed away. Pat suffered a stroke in the prime of her life in 1989. Seriously handicapped, but mentally still very bright from that time on, she never gave any indication of feeling sorry for herself, and smiled, smiled and smiled while she remained dedicated and involved in the pro-life cause to her last days – another exemplary “good and faithful servant.”

The most recent death was that on Dec. 18 of Joseph Pope, a well-known and very successful retired Toronto stockbroker and supporter of Catholic and pro-life causes. He and his wife Claudine raised seven children. Joe’s big passion was trying to convince the Canadian bishops to formally and explicitly repudiate their disastrous 1968 Winnipeg Statement of dissent against Pope Paul VI’s encyclical upholding the Church’s teaching against contraception. Joe wrote and spoke often on this.

Joe was also a regular LifeSiteNews reader and by far our most generous financial supporter until his illness began to overtake him a couple of years ago. The last time I saw Joe he said he was pleading with God to take him to his eternal home. Last Saturday his prayers were answered. We owe Joe Pope special prayers and gratitude. He, too, was a “good and faithful servant” who will be greatly missed.

These passings and funerals were genuine occasions of joy, as well as of sadness for our loss of such unique and special personalities who lived very full lives of love and giving. You just don’t forget such people.

However, Christ rose from the dead, and so have they and so will we. But, striving for a good life and faithfulness are essential. That is why the baby Jesus was sent to us – to show the Way.

Please pray for the staff of LifeSiteNews that we will continue to be faithful and always hopeful, trusting in God, rather than ourselves.

I wish many blessing upon all our readers and their families.

Steve Jalsevac
Managing Director and Co-founder


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