Defining the Issue of Our Time: Corona Virus
corona [ kuh-roh-nuh ] noun
a radiant circle.
synonyms: aureole, halo
Welcome to a Radiant Circle
There is plenty of panic and politics elsewhere.
Here we focus on the rays of light and hope surrounding these dark times.
Read, enjoy, share, and contribute to this collection of art and faith,
compiled by Dixon Studio, a liturgical arts studio in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
We would like to introduce you to some inspiring clergy and beautiful worship aids
we have encountered in our work, and we would like to share some of our favorite
diversions as we all slow down and rediscover the arts and reconnect with our faith.
Join our circle of friends and faithful to make beauty and hope go viral!
NEW POSTS EACH WEEK are on this home page, along with some sticky favorites.
Click menu buttons to access older posts.
Events, Videos & Livestreams
NEW: A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing
This hymn was recorded for the people of St. Francis Church, Staunton, Virginia, as virtual music for the weekend of May 24, 2020. Since congregational singing in church is currently not allowed, this is a way to bring the hymns into people's homes. Text: Hymnum canamus gloria: Venerable Bede, 673-735. Translation from the Lutheran Book of Worship, 1978. Tune: LASST UNS ERFREUEN, Cologne, 1623.
NEW: The UK Blessing
Church members across the UK join together in song.
The churches may be closed but the church is alive.
Man with Covid-19 was dying, then God sent a cleaner.
A testimony to the kindness of strangers, who may be on a mission.
Bonus: Belfast accent --with subtitles, for the uninitiated.
A Radio Wake for John Prine
When I get to heaven, I'm gonna shake God's hand,
thank him for more blessings than one man can stand.
If there is anything sadder than losing John Prine to the coronavirus,
it's that social distancing precludes a proper funeral.
This broadcast from Nashville Public Radio is the next best thing.
Warning: a couple of lyrics are NSFW but then, you're not listening at work.
If your tastes are a bit more highbrow, check out
Nessun Dorma... alla Corona by Daniel Emmett.
A gorgeous rendition of an American hymn by Nashville studio singers,
gathered via cell phone videos: It Is Well With My Soul.
And, any time you're heading for a pity party, read the back story that inspired
the lyricist, Horation Spafford. Warning: Have a hankie at the ready.
Andrea Bocelli: Music for Hope
It was live on Easter Sunday but generously archived to revisit.
Favorite: St. Paul's Catholic Church in Richmond, Virginia
offers livestreamed and archived services.
Bonus: Beautiful interior by Dixon Studio, 2017, below.
News & Notes
Few Americans say their house of worship is open,
but a quarter say their faith has grown amid pandemic.
In the 'silver lining' department, the Pew Research Center offers some good news.
Uber Eats Driver Asks Priest to Hear Confession
Fox News host Ed Henry interviews Fr. Dan Beeman about the evening a driver realizes
he's just delivered dinner to a rectory and asks to be delivered from sin.
MORE: Older posts are archived on our News & Notes page.
Prayers & Pictures
Daily Gospel Reflections
are offered by Fr. Matt Kiehl, campus minister
at the College of William & Mary.
Prayerful but pithy, his meditations are under 5 minutes.
Besides, we like his taste in artwork,
especially that Caravaggio in the corner.
Image and link will take you to the campus ministry fb page.
Unemployed? There's a Patron Saint for You.
Read up on St. Cajetan.
Here are some helpful suggestions for Prayerful Participation in an Online Mass.
Check out the daily readings, posted at US Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Pray the rosary at home, with inspiration from rosarywindows.com
Don't know how? Forgot?
Check out this one-page printable guide.
Download free posters with inspiring images and words of wisdom.
MORE: Older posts are archived on our Prayers & Pictures page.
Ideas & Inspiration
NEW: 13 Tips for Dealing with Anxiety
A baker's dozen of suggestions and reminders to avoid worry
and embrace simple routines and endeavors.
Fr. John Grace, pastor at Immaculate Conception Church,
offers his thoughts on
Choosing to Support the Common Good of All.
With a Dixon stained glass window
of the Communion of Saints as a backdrop,
he discusses community and charity and assures us
we are neither helpless nor hopeless.
original design for Communion of Saints window in the chapel
at Immaculate Conception Church in Hampton, Virginia, 2011.
Can you name all the saints in this Communion of Saints window?
Click Here for a larger image and try! Then, Click Here for answers.
NEW: Take a Virtual Vacation
This website is produced by Dixon Studio & Gallery,
located in Staunton, Virginia.
It's a charming town, located in the Shenandoah Valley.
You should come visit when this isolation is all over!
In the meantime, have a look around
at some of our favorite picks, via our curated links.
Topping the list, of course, is our own Dixon Studio,
an award winning liturgical arts studio producing stained glass, mosaics, and statuary
for churches in the mid-Atlantic area and beyond.
The artwork isn't just for churches anymore, with the addition of
Dixon Gallery, offering cards, prints, and originals online
and by event or appointment in person.
Staunton is home to a lot of creative people and ventures!
NEW: The Frontier Culture Museum
This outdoor museum tells the story of the thousands of people who migrated to colonial America, and of the life they created here for themselves and their descendants.
The American Shakespeare Center is located downtown in a replica of the Blackfriars Theater.
Since audiences can't come to the theater now, ASC is offering streaming plays.
Three Notch'd Road, The Virginia Baroque Ensemble, performs a full season of early music on period instruments at various locations in Staunton, Charlottesville, Richmond.
Although the current season is cancelled you can order their albums online.
The Judy Chops is a fusion of modern and vintage musical styles, blending elements of swing, blues, rock, and soul.
Staunton has an eclectic taste in music, as is evident on our hometown radio station.
Listen to WQSV online. And do it different days and times, to hear completely different shows!
The Staunton Augusta Art Center is a non-profit community art organization devoted to providing area children and adults, as well as visitors to the region, diverse experiences in the creation and appreciation of the visual arts.
Here are two of our favorite things combined in one compact offering:
art + chocolate = the tastefully tasty Santiago Chocolates.
Sorry, shipping not available; you'll have to visit someday and buy a box
at Cranberries Grocery & Eatery or order them for dessert at Znyodoa restaurant.
Plan ahead for your real visit to Staunton, by looking at the variety of places to stay.
Staunton has historic districts filled with exquisite architecture. Check out a couple here:
Beverley Historic District
Newtown Historic District
Stuart Addition Historic District
Erik the Travel Guy offers a glimpse at our beautiful town and its surroundings
in two short videos. Check out Part 1 for an overview and Part 2 for more tips.
While you plan your trip, the small town with a big heart will be waiting for you.
Staunton is a model town... and you can make your own models of the buildings downtown
by printing and folding the designs at Build Your Own Staunton.
& Perennial Students
ThoughtCo. is an online publication for lifelong learning.
Nothing intimidating or lengthy here, just an eclectic collection of short articles
to fill the time and maybe pique your interest to find out more.
The Smithsonian presents Fun Stuff for Kids and Teens.
Adults will have fun learning this stuff too.
Art Appreciation Class
The Largest Jan Van Eyck Exhibition is on display in the closed Museum
of Fine Arts Ghent and also on your computer with a virtual tour.
A Time for Cornerstones by Duncan Stroik
Throughout history, times of plague and catastrophe have called for serious responses in the form of churches and sacred art.
2019 International Awards for Religious Art & Architecture
From innovation to renovation, and interiors to exteriors...
Jesus' Resurrection is the Most Important Event in History
But not just for the reasons you might think...
Even non-believers believe in many of the fruits of Christianity.
Favorite: Feeling like you're in exile? You're not the only one and this isn't the first time.
Check out Psalms 137 and 19.
Then, listen to these lamentations of the Jewish people, made modern by:
Jorma Kaukonen (our favorite version)
The Melodians (the original Reggae version)
Willie Nelson (because we're in the South, y'all)
Linda Rondstadt (acapella)
The Neville Brothers (harmonious!)
Wikipedia notes that it is one of a few pop songs whose lyrics come directly from the Bible.
Read more about the Psalms and the song here.
And check out a different song, with the same source story --by our local talent:
The Marvelous Murphy Sisters
Do try this at home with Steve Spangler Science.
The site offers 50 Experiments for 50 Days.
Or go straight for the archives of At Home Science Experiments.
Here are more resources for lifelong learning and keeping the kids entertained and educated.
Send Us Your Favorite
Devotions and Distractions!
Share your images and inspiration and we'll make them go viral --in a good way!
Submit your questions and suggestions here.