On his way to Rome, Eugene hoped to arrive in Civitavecchia in time to celebrate Mass on the Feast of the Assumption. At that time one had to fast from midnight in order to receive Communion the next day. Eugene had in fact fasted for over 24 hours in the hope of celebrating Mass on this feast, but never got the opportunity.
On the question of Eucharistic practices that have changed today, I find Eugene’s description of something he saw on this journey on how Communion was brought to the dying:
… At Livorno. I was witness to a religious spectacle that] rubbed salt in my wounds. You know how I suffer at the unworthy manner holy viaticum is brought to the sick at Marseilles and you were often as vexed as I was. Well, listen now to how it ought to be done and how it is done at Livorno. When there is no urgency, one waits until nightfall. Then the Blessed Sacrament, borne by a priest in cope and large humeral veil, issues majestically from the church beneath a large canopy of four if not six poles. It is preceded by forty or so at least members of the confraternity, torches in hand, followed by a priest carrying the small canopy that is needed in the stairway. Accompanied by an immense throng all reciting aloud the Miserere. At the toll of the bell all windows in a thrice are lit up from the first to the fourth floor. There are lamps, candles large and small and candelabras and, as the sick person’s house is neared, eight to ten relatives or friends come forward, torches in hand, in front of the Blessed Sacrament and join the procession. While the sacrament is administered to the sick person, those assisting remain at the door and recite aloud Our Lady’s litanies and other prayers. The journey back is done in like fashion save that as the church is neared the Te Deum is sung. Admit that this is wonderful and that one cannot help waxing indignant when making comparisons with the way we do it.
Letter to Henri Tempier, 15 August 1833, EO VIII n 453.
Times and customs have certainly changed over the centuries, but the need for a respectful Eucharistic devotion shown in contemporary expressions continues.