I am honored and humbled to be receiving such a prestigious medal. I hope I’m worthy of standing next to the people who have received it before me. If it’s for me trying to get my life on the right track the way God wanted me too, then I am worthy, because I know, and God knows, that I’ve tried. I’ve prayed to see the world through God’s eyes and asked that the world see God in me.
Aaron Neville, a four-time Grammy Award winning singer and musician, speaks after being awarded the Laetare Medal
My early life has been a preview of where I am now. It took who I was and where I came from to make me who I am. For that I have to thank my late parents, Arthur and Amelia Neville. They, along with the nuns at St. Monica’s Catholic School, especially Sister Damien, taught me morals and guidance.
My Catholic upbringing helped me in some dark times. One dark night, I remembered a poem I had to memorize and recite in front of the class in maybe the fifth grade. Later, I put music to it and recorded it. The poem was “Lovely Lady, Dressed In Blue, Teach Me How to Pray.”
I was always mesmerized by the blessed Mother, and was grateful to get the chance to learn the Ave Maria. I didn’t know what the words meant, but a lady asked me to sing it at her sister’s wedding, so I learned it and have been singing it ever since.
Again, I thank you from my heart. To close, I’d like to sing it for you.