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Pope jokes he's a pharmacist, prescribing prayers

Sunday - 11/17/2013, 4:10pm  ET

Pope Francis shows a box shaped like a pill box but which contains a rosary during his traditional Sunday appearance in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013. Pope Francis said that the rosary is like a medicine for the heart and small boxes containing rosaries were distributed to faithful at the end of Pope's traditional Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

BRADY McCOMBS
Associated Press

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Joking that he's like a pharmacist, Pope Francis is promoting prayer as medicine for the heart.

Appearing on Sunday at his studio window, Francis held up a rosary in a box designed to resemble a packet of pills, before volunteers distributed thousands of those boxes, which feature a design of a human heart.

Francis said he was recommending reciting the rosary prayer as a "spiritual medicine" that is "good for the heart."

Francis' down-to-earth way of speaking, in a style ordinary people can readily understand, is drawing larger than usual crowds to St. Peter's Square for his traditional weekly appearances. About 80,000 tourists and Romans packed the square on Sunday.


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