- Latin: respondere, to answer
(1) An answer.
(2) A short phrase or sentence recited by choir or congregation in answer to preceding versicle. Versicle and response are drawn in most cases from the Psalms. They are of very early Christian use, e.g., Et dom spiritu tuo, or Deo gratias.
(3) A series of versicles and responses recited or chanted in the Divine Office between the Lessons of Matins and after the Little Chapters of the other Canonical Hours. In the latter case it is called Short Response or Responsory. The Responsory is based upon the responsorial form of psalmody in which a soloist chanted the verses, after each of which the choir or congregation repeated a verse, a half-verse or acclamation, e.g., “Alleluia,” as a refrain. The Invitatory (Psalm 94), and the Graduals of the Mass are types of responsorial psalms. In structure the Responsory consists of the responsory, properly so called, the verse, and the doxology. In content it is frequently closely connected in thought with the preceding lesson and is composed of psalms, verses, or other portions of Scripture, or sometimes is from the feast of the day.