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S.I. Boy Gets Special, Unexpected Honor From Cardinal Dolan

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A 10-year-old Staten Island boy and his mother got a big surprise when they went to St. Patrick's Cathedral hoping to catch a glimpse of Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Ash Wednesday.

Chris Sweeney was asked to serve as an altar boy at the Mass, which he regularly does at his home church – Holy Family -- after asking some priests which door Dolan would be coming through.

The priests told Chris they had no servers for Dolan's first Mass as cardinal and asked him to step in.

"I was a bit pressured because this is a famous person here and excited at the same time," he told 1010 WINS.

Not only was Chris put into service, he also got to sit down with Dolan and say a prayer for his father, who is battling cancer.

Dolan told Chris to keep the faith.

"He said, 'Go to your father, keep him company, tell him that he's in my prayers,'" Chris said.

His father, Rocky Sweeney, who missed the Mass because he was undergoing chemotherapy at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, said his son was a bit awe struck by Dolan.

"Whether he would be affiliated with the Church or not he seems to be the kind of person that you would like and he proved it yesterday when my son talked to him," Rocky Sweeney said. "I'm as proud as can be."

Cardinal Dolan took the family's phone number and promised to call his father and pray with him.

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