...well, not really, but that was my joke to the servers after Mass this evening.
I am not sure why, but I really enjoy this feast. The Immaculate Conception seems to me like a suitably generous "down payment" from heaven to earth; the kind of gift a doting Son can give if that Son is also the Creator. It fills us--me, anyway--with hope.
Plus, I had Mass for this feast in a church named for Mary, which is even more special.
We opened Mass, suitably enough, with "Immaculate Mary" (yes, I look forward to the day we use the antiphons regularly). Of course, incense; didn't smoke enough for me, but apparently enough for some, who cough! coughed! at strategic moments. Per the option in the rubrics, I incensed the image of Mary after the altar and cross.
I sang almost all the prayers, including the Eucharistic Prayer -- Roman Canon, of course. I noticed, as I prayed the prayer (note to brother priests: if you sing prayers regularly, you may find, as I have, that it ceases to be nerve-jangling, and you really can pray the prayer as you sing) that it further had the advantage of recalling salvation history, in its references to Abel, Abraham and Melchizedek. Yes, I included all the saints, all included in the super-nova of grace that was heralded by Mary's immaculate conception.
We had a nice, up-tempo contemporary hymn for the offertory, I can't recall it, but I enjoyed it as I was incensing the gifts. Backing up, our music director did a nice job with an a capella chant of the psalm. I dunno, I felt the joy of the preface as I prayed it; I was sorry it had to be followed by a mundane "Holy, Holy," but the Latin Sanctus hasn't caught on as much as the Agnus Dei (which we did sing).
Communion provided a particularly moving moment for me. Our music director has a nice composition that intersperses an English refrain with the Ave Verum (which I just love), which I offered during communion. In our church, we distribute from the back of church as well, and that is where I was doing so. After everyone had received, I ran up to the choir loft to bring the Eucharist to the cantor and music director, since they were singing for us. I waited while the music director finished the last two lines of his piece; there I stood, with a ciborium full of our Lord Jesus, as he sang, "Lord, you are here with us. We do this in memory of you"--interspersed with phrases of the Ave Verum. It gave me chills. Then, of course, I had the privilege of giving our music director the Eucharist.
After that, the cantor sang Gounod's Ave Maria, which I love, but isn't heard very often. The silence after that was so full, I hated to break it. I stood up, sang the post-communion prayer, the blessing, and the dismissal. Announcements have their place, but -- so nice to move with the rhythm of the liturgy. Our closing hymn was "O Sanctissima." The music director admitted he was a bit free with Latin tonight. In fairness to him, Latin aside, all his choices were first-rate.
Oh, and I did wear gold vestments. "Only the best for mother!" I told the agreeable servers.