On 18 November, Pope Francis presented Arvo Pärt with the Ratzinger Prize in the Vatican. This marks the first time that a composer received the Ratzinger Prize.
In his vote of thanks during the evening, Arvo Pärt said:
I am personally very touched and grateful – especially to you, the members of the Joseph Ratzinger or Pope Benedict XVI Foundation – for this trust and honour. However, it is not an easy task to remain worthy of this honour as a human being. It is a great challenge. We are not dealing here with an ordinary merit that one could use to boast.
Dear brothers, we need your help, please don’t leave us alone now. This is what we plead from you.