The old Baltimore Catechism No. 1 in 1891 was the first 37 lessons of three Catechisms that each had 37 lessons. The first version was published in 1885. Much later there was a BC No. 0 for First Communion as published by the Confraternity for Christian Doctrine (CCD) that was intended for young children preparing for First Communion, about the first twenty lessons plus the Ten Commandments and prayers. After that there were other versions approved by the CCD.
The No. 1 is shorter than the No. 2. In the first ten questions there #7 and #8 are not asked in the first catechism. The numbering is the same but the No. 1 comes from the No. 2 and does not include all of the questions and answers. It does use the same wording, though so if your younger student is working with older children, their answers will be the same.
The main difference in most catechism series is that the higher levels include more questions and answers. Sometimes the answers are expanded with more detail. What's nice about the Baltimore is that it is brief and concise which makes it easier to memorize the answers, even through many versions and publications. If you already own a BC2 you wouldn't need to buy the BC3.
If you're looking for something specifically for First Communion, you'll want to check out St. Anne's Helper First Communion Catechism as it uses the prayers and answers taught in the Baltimore Catechism from a later CCD version (Living My Religion and Jesus Comes). For instance it uses the older versions of the Acts of Faith, Hope and Charity and it uses the Perfect Act of Contrition that are found in the Baltimore. All of the main Catholic prayers are included especially those for saying the Rosary and going to Confession. As with the No. 2 there are devotions and hymns in the back of the booklet.
Outside what is properly called the Baltimore there are other versions: Our Holy Faith, Volume 2: Jesus Comes published by Neumann Press; and the first three books in the Living My Religion Series published by Lepanto Press; the New Saint Joseph First Communion Catechism published by Catholic Book Publishing Company which is vastly different from the other two.
The CCD licensed the revised edition that is used in Our Holy Faith, Volume 2: Jesus Comes, 1959. It is the version that St. Anne's Helper uses as it has excellent answers that are specifically geared toward a good preparation for First Confession and First Communion.
Neumann Press republished it if you would like to have a book to read that includes Bible stories of Creation, the Fall, Noe, Abraham, Moses and the Ten Commandments, the prophets, the Birth of Jesus (Jesus comes), His life, death and Resurrection interspersed with the Baltimore Catechism questions and answers and it is now available from the new TAN company. It is a very nice book and makes a nice reader, too.
The St. Anne's Helper First Communion Catechism CDs and worksheets cover most of the answers used in this book.
The Living My Religion Series makes a nice catechism set as well as a very nice Catholic reader set. Lepanto Press has republished it and it is used at Our Lady of Victory School (OLVS).
In this series, the Primer has the first eleven Baltimore questions and answers with super simple sentences that demonstrate God's Love as our Father. Book 1 is called Living in God's Love and includes many of the answers through question number 39. Book 2 is called Living in God's Law and covers many questions from both the No. 1 and the No. 2 of the older version. It has my life time favorite explanation of actual grace.
The St. Anne's Helper First Communion Catechism questions and answers cover the first three books of the Living My Religion series.
The New Saint Joseph First Communion Catechism (NSJ) is currently the version of the Baltimore Catechism that many parishes and Catholic home school companies recommend for First Communion these last five decades.
There are differences amongst various versions of the BC which makes it hard to choose so we usually use what the school or diocese is using. Personally, I find that the NSJ is more vague and has some difficult places especially in its many republications that do not note the increasing number of revisions, especially in the beautiful pictures. See my explanation of some of the catechism differences here.
In this series, generally, schools use the NSJ No. 1 for the years immediately after First Communion. It adds Bible quotes from the CCD Bible version and little stories.
For most of the years that our children went to a Catholic elementary school they used the NSJ No. 1 and 2. These did not concur with what they'd studied for First Communion in a few instances and they would get the answer wrong in class if they used the previously given answer. Not only were the answers marked wrong, but the new answers sometimes caused confusion. This shows why it is so important to start with a good catechism and stay with the same answers. I show what we learned about some of the differences on our Catholic answers page.
St. Anne's Helper First Communion Catechism uses the Baltimore Catechism No 1 and is very helpful for learning the basic Catholic beliefs for First Communion and Confirmation. The Audio Catechism CDs and Catechism Copybooks can help reduce the time and effort necessary to learn the catechism questions and answers.
As above, you might be looking for the best answers for First Communion or Confirmation preparation. Here they are no matter which program you use, you can see the text of the St. Anne's Helper First Communion catechism here.
The audio CDs or Downloads are especially handy for Religion class, Sunday school, RCIA and Homeschool.
Either way, whether your student is enrolled in a class that uses the Baltimore Catechism No. 1, or not, our St. Anne's Helper Audio CDs and downloads help with the usual catechism questions necessary for preparing for First Communion.
The audio review is helpful for any student, child or adult, but especially for the auditory learner or one who doesn't enjoy reading.
Once we realized that there were real benefits in using Catholic copywork like learning nice penmanship and learning to spell the catechism words, we made up Catechism copybooks for our youngest children so that they would have the penmanship practice they needed and some filler/busywork to keep them busy with constructive material when the older children were studying. What better Catholic copywork than the Baltimore Catechism No 1?
This way the children could practice their handwriting on reprintable sheets that used the same BC questions they were learning for First Communion. This is a God send if your children have to write their catechism answers for a test.
We also made certain to find a font that would imitate the "a" that children print, not the one that is generally found in text books that has a flag over the letter. The lower case letter "g" was important, too.
Some of our older children have asked if they can use the copybooks, too, they like them so well. (Now this is a magic moment. When a student WANTS to write beautifully he or she then CAN write beautifully!) One wants to build her own collection in a binder with all three sets tabbed!
The St. Anne's Helper First Communion Catechism Copybook is reproducible whenever you need it. You can print all the pages and then have them bound at an office supply store or simply keep them in your own binder using pre-drilled 3 hole paper. A folder works well, too, for individual copywork pages. Either way, you always have a Catholic copybook on hand for writing practice! At the end of the year tie the booklets together with ribbons, or, as with our son, zip ties! Blue for him.
The text of the First Communion Catechism Copybook matches the text and audio of St. Anne's Audio Catechism CD or the download version of the same enhanced audio CD (both text and audio available on the same CD in a beautiful presentation box).
The First Communion Catechism Copybook is available in manuscript writing. Using St. Anne's Helper reproducible Catechism Copybooks makes the copybook idea one step more convenient! See catechism copybook samples here.
Anyway you choose, you can now have the Baltimore Catechism No. 1 questions and answers that your children need to memorize on Audio Catechism CDs, Downloads and Catechism Copybooks.
Use printables in your Roman Catholic catechism class, Faith formation, or Sunday school lesson. ~Mary Fifer