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updated: 11/17/2013 9:42 AM

Pope jokes he's a pharmacist, prescribing prayers

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  • 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.

      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.
    Associated Press

  • Felipe Penna, of Brazil, holds a box shaped like a pill box but which contains a rosary that was distributed at the end of Pope's Francis 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.

      Felipe Penna, of Brazil, holds a box shaped like a pill box but which contains a rosary that was distributed at the end of Pope's Francis 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.
    Associated Press

 
By Associated Press

VATICAN CITY -- 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.

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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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