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The practice of deliberately committing to memory facts and verbal expressions considered useful or necessary for future recall. Since the earliest times the Church has encouraged memorization, e.g., the directives of the American hierarchy: "The special place of memory in the transmission of the faith of the Church throughout the ages, should be valued and exercised, especially in catechetical programs for the young. Opportunities for memorization should be adapted to the level and ability of the child and presented in a gradual fashion. Among these elements of Catholic faith, tradition and practice which, through an early, gradual, flexible, and never slavish process of memorization, could become lessons learned for a lifetime, contributing to an individual's growth and development in an understanding of the Faith are the following: 1. prayers, such as the Sign of the Cross, the Lord's Prayer, the Hail Mary, the Apostle's Creed, the Acts of Faith, Hope, and Charity, the Act of Contrition; 2. factual information contributing to an appreciation of the place of the Word of god in the Church and the life of the Christian through an awareness and appreciation of: a. the key themes of the history of salvation; b. the major personalities of the Old and New Testaments; c. certain biblical texts expressive of God's love and care; 3. formulas providing factual information regarding worship, the Church year, and major practices in the devotional life of Christians: a. the parts of the Mass; b. the list of the sacraments; c. the liturgical seasons; d. the holy days of obligation; e. the major feasts of Our Lord and Our Lady; f. the various eucharistic devotions; g. the mysteries of the Rosary of the blessed Virgin Mary; h. the Stations of the Cross; 4. formulas and practices dealing with the moral life of Christians; a. the Commandments; b. the Beatitudes; c. the gifts of the Holy Spirit; d. the theological and moral virtues; e. the precepts of the Church; f. the examination of conscience" (Amendments to the National Catechetical Directory, 1977).
It is assumed that what has been memorized will also be reflected on and, as far as possible, understood. But memorizing is indispensable for any sound pedagogy in the Catholic religion (General Catechetical Directory, 73).
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.