Front Row left to right: Joanne Roche, Laurie Thome, Sarah Gruman, Laurie Busch, Nichole Knepper, Kathy Berns
Middle Row: Doug Moore, Patty McClain, Jody Schares, Paula Moore, Jim Koch, Dave Berns
Back Row: Will Evans, Jim Fineran, Mike Blad, Mitchell Stover, Jack Eherenman
(Not pictured: Kathy Rath)
Lenten Lessons and Prayers: A Musical Journey with Christ shares the story of the life of Jesus through inspirational music and narration with emphasis on the passion. It is a compilation of music woven together with narration based on scripture. There are a variety of musical styles and composers represented in A Musical Journey with Christ.
All of the music is meant to bring the listener closer to the events of 2000 years ago and to bring the listener to a deeper appreciation of Christ’s love. It is hoped that all who hear this story will experience spiritual renewal and be inspired to renew their commitment to love and serve others.
I don’t consider this a concert as much as a meditation on the life of Christ. This 85 minute program will also be a time of praise and prayer. The first part of our program sets the stage and gives a summary of the events of Christ’s life leading up to the Last Supper. The second part of our program is the story of the passion. The third part is a time of prayer through music where we are asking for guidance and nourishment on our spiritual journey.
I have always been drawn to music that touches the soul and brings a person closer to Christ. In putting together this presentation I picked music that is very powerful and spiritually moving. The music and the artists that composed these pieces have been an inspiration to me. All of the music in this program is very reflective and spiritually uplifting.
I see the musicians in this group as an instrument that can lead others to praise God. We have a very talented group of musicians who have worked hard and are very willing to share their talent and faith with others.
I think the message of Christ’s love will be communicated not only through the music but in the narration, choreography, and the reverent manner in which it is delivered.
I think anyone who comes to this program with an open heart and mind will leave feeling very energized and spiritually renewed.
I also hope that “A Musical Journey” will bring people from the different parishes/churches and the community together. We may be many but we are also one.
-Dave Berns, founder and director of Agnus Dei Ministry
2016 Schedule of Performances
Click here for the current schedule of performances.
I had thought about doing something like this for several years. When I was a student at Don Bosco High School in Gilbertville, I was in a group called “Life Unlimited” that traveled to various churches and nursing homes and performed a musical about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The music was very moving and I saw how this music touched so many lives. This experience had a big impact on me as a teen. I have been a music minister since I was in elementary school and I had often thought of what it would be like to do something like “Life Unlimited” again as an adult. This had been stirring around in my mind for about 3-4 years before I put “A musical Journey with Christ” into motion. Until 2009 the timing never seemed to be right.
Then in the spring of 2009 I attended a concert by Tatiana Cameron (also known as Tajci) at Celebration First Assembly of God Church in Waterloo. (Tatiana grew up in poverty in Communist Yugoslavia and rose to superstardom there as a pop singer before coming to the United States in 1992. While living her life as a celebrity she found that while she seemingly had everything she still felt very empty yearned for something more. Tajci came to America to be free of her celebrity status and to find herself. Before she left her native country Tajci gave most all of her money to the peace effort and she started her life over from scratch. In the United States she found her answer in prayer and in her Catholic faith. Tajci’s husband Matthew Cameron encouraged her to tell the story of her own quest for spiritual healing through music. Tajci is now 41 years old and gives concerts throughout the United States and gets requests from all over the world).
In the concert I attended, Tatiana told the story of Christ’s Passion through her musical presentation “I Thirst---The Crucifixion Story.” I again saw firsthand how the story of Christ’s life put to music can touch people. After her performance I had the opportunity to meet Tajci. I told her that what she was doing was very similar to what I wanted to do. I told her briefly what I was thinking and Tajci looked me in the eye and asked me “what is holding you back?” She encouraged me to take the next step and I began to put “A Musical Journey with Christ” together. After meeting with Tajci I began to think about what kind of music and who might be a part of my project. In putting this together I decided to include a couple of Tatiana’s music selections in the presentation.
This is the 7th season for Agnus Dei ministry and our ministry has grown and our area of ministry has expanded. Our ministry began in the spring of 2010. We presented “A Musical Journey with Christ” to 8 of the area Catholic churches in the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area and at St. Stephen the Witness Catholic Student Center on the University of Northern Iowa Campus. We also presented to the student body at Columbus High School in Waterloo. The presentations were very well received and each presentation began to attract more and more people. By the end of the season we were presenting to full churches where there was standing room only.
Many people asked us if we were going to keep our ministry going and we were contacted by other churches to please consider them if we did the program again. After prayerful consideration, we decided to go ahead and continue with the ministry a second year.
The second season (spring of 2011) we branched out and gave presentations to 13 outlying churches and traveled to Vinton, Dyersville and Dubuque. We continued to get requests from various parishes and churches around Northeast Iowa and in Lent 2012 we traveled south to the Cedar Rapids area. Our ministry also continued to branch out to other Christian churches in the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area. Audiences of many Christian denominations have heard our presentations and our ministry has truly become ecumenical and has brought many parishes and churches together.
Our ministry continued in Lent 2013 with local presentations in Waterloo as well as churches in Dysart, Oelwein, Waverly, and Mt. Vernon, Iowa. We also had presentations at St. Luke Episcopal and Nazareth Lutheran Churches in Cedar Falls. Our 2013 season concluded on Sunday, April 7th with a special benefit concert for the Cedar Valley Hospitality House with world renowned Christian Singer John Angotti. Our ministry also sang for the Mass at the Iowa Irish Festival in Waterloo on August 4th.
Lent 2014 took us to Mason City, Des Moines, Ankeny, New Hampton, and Dubuque. We also continued to present in the Waterloo / Cedar Falls area.
Our ministry continued to grow and evolve. In Lent 2015 we celebrated our 50th presentation of “A Musical Journey with Christ” at First Baptist Church in Waterloo. Agnus Dei Ministry was also invited to be part of the St. Joseph the Worker Parish Mission with a presentation at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Sumner. We also were honored to have been invited to be a part of the 50th Anniversary Celebration of St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Traer. Our travels also took us to Hudson and Cedar Rapids. We also were invited to be part of the Adult Family Life Conference sponsored by the Archdiocese of Dubuque this past November and continue to do benefit concerts and lead the music for the Waterloo Irish Fest Mass.
As we begin our 7th season we look forward to continuing our ministry in new venues in Marshalltown, West Union and Cedar Falls as well as some familiar venues in Waterloo.
We continue to get requests from churches in Northeast and Central Iowa and as well as some requests from out of state. Unfortunately, we are not able to honor every request but we do hope that those we cannot honor will be able to come and join us at one of our other presentations. We take our ministry one year at a time. We trust that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide us as we grow, evolve and discern our future. We thank you for your continued interest and prayerful support of our ministry.
-Dave Berns, founder and director of Agnus Dei Ministry
St. Edward Parish, Waterloo
Dave Berns, Kathy Berns, Jim Koch, Kathy Rath
Queen of Peace Parish, Waterloo
Mike Blad,Janet Blad
Blessed Sacrament Parish, Waterloo
Jack Eherenman, Will Evans, Jim Fineran, Doug Moore, Paula Moore
Sacred Heart Parish, Waterloo
Joanne Roche, Dave Roche
St. Patrick Parish, Cedar Falls
St. Stephen the Witness Catholic Student Center UNI
St. Mary Parish, Waverly
Sarah Gruman, Mitchell Stover
Immaculate Conception Parish, Gilbertville
Nichole Knepper, Laurie Thome
Adrian Amjadi, Andrea Berns, Mariel Contreras, Nathaniel Gee, Hannah Howland, Ben Huber, Carmen Lappe, Jeff Lappe, Mike Marlow, Jeanne Marlow, Patty McClain, Emily Nelson, Jim O’Connor, Chris Olds, Kathryn Pranger, Sue Reiter, Alex Shockley, Doug Staudt
Director of Agnus Dei Ministry
319-234-8449 319-290-0064 (C)