Pope Francis jokes he’s a pharmacist, prescribes prayers

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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 the 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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