NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Brooklyn man who saved a stranger’s life after she was stabbed on a subway platform was honored Tuesday in an emotional ceremony.

Surrounded by his family, Brooklyn native Sean Conaboy received a medal from the Diocese of Brooklyn, inscribed with the Latin phrase “the word became flesh.”

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Bishop Nicolas DiMarzio says that’s what Conaboy exemplified, putting his faith into practice, when he saved a stranger’s life.

“You gave help to someone in trouble, did not concern about your own safety, and we really tip our hat to you,” DiMarzio said.

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It was Wednesday, May 19, at the Union Square subway station.

As CBS2’s Christina Fan reports, Conaboy was standing on the platform when he noticed a man who was acting suspiciously pull out a knife and start repeatedly stabbing a 54-year-old woman.

He immediately ran over, tackled the suspect and pinned him down until police arrived.

“I relied entirely on body language and eyes,” Conaboy said.

Conaboy wasn’t even supposed to be at the Union Square station that day.

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He typically takes the D train from Bryant Park, but the line wasn’t running. He’s convinced God intervened in more than one way that day.

“Some angel or saint had been watching over me, for sure. Because I really, at one point or another, thought that my whole back is exposed, I have no ability to see anything,” he said.

Conaboy is a devout Catholic and a parishioner of St. Michael’s in Sunset Park.

His old pastor, now the Bishop of the Diocese of Paterson, spoke at Tuesday’s ceremony.

“While I was surprised to see him being interviewed, I wasn’t surprised because he was someone I knew as a person of faith,” Bishop Kevin Sweeny said.

The Bishop says many people attend Mass but not all follow’s the church’s teachings. Conaboy did.

The victim suffered multiple stab wounds in the attack.

Conaboy says he’s remained in contact with her and that she is still recovering emotionally.

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CBS2’s Christina Fan contributed to this report.

CBSNewYork Team