Bl. John Paul I
Albino Luciani was born in Canale d'Argordo, in the province of Belluno, region of Veneto, nestled at the foot of the Alps in Northeast Italy. Desiring to be a priest from an early age, he attended the minor and major seminaries of the diocese of Belluno-Feltre and was ordained in 1935. As a young priest he served in his own village, and then as a professor and vice-rector in the seminary. He served in that capacity for a decade, earning a doctorate at the Gregorian University in the meantime.
After serving in various diocesan offices he was elected Bishop of Vittorio Veneto in 1958 by Pope St. John XXIII, holding this office during the course of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). In 1969 he was elevated to the near-by See of Venice, being named its Patriarch by Pope St. Paul VI, who also created him a Cardinal in March 1973. When Pope Paul died on 6 August 1978, Cardinal Luciani participated in the Conclave to elect his successor. In doing so, he expressed the will to refuse election to those who suggested he be elected. When on the second day of the conclave, 26 August 1978, he was nonetheless elected, he accepted the will of the Cardinals, taking the double name John Paul, in honor of his two predecessors-the first Pope to take such a name.