Via Pacis was born in Italy, in Riva del Garda (Province of Trento), on the 3rd of June 1979, Solemnity of Pentecost. From birth to the year 2010 the name had been Shalom Community Association.
The founders are the married couple Eliana Aloisi and Paolo Maino, along with Father Domenico Pincelli, priest of the Dioceses of Trento, which all had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ and experienced the power of the Holy Spirit and of the Word of God in their everyday life.
They made the experience of a God who is alive and makes himself close to them. This experience spread among the people around them, and these people start to share with them the desire to live the peace-shalom of Jesus Christ.
The Gospel becomes more and more the light and the road to follow. Especially, the pass pf the Gospel of Luca inspires and leads the steps of the growing community: “But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”
Since the beginning people had been feeling the desire to pray together to grow in communion and brotherhood. The beauty of recognizing oneself as brothers, the gift of faith, the discovery of personal and community prayer, mutual help in difficulties, sharing the joys and sufferings are the first fruits that the community tastes. The Word of God inspires and guides members to open themselves generously to others. People begin to share the tenth part of one’s income with the poorest. The dimension of solidarity is a push to go out, to know distant realities, to collaborate in projects that promote the dignity and development of people.
To manage officially and transparently the offers collected, in 1994 the Association Via Pacis Onlus was founded.
Charisma as a mission
The charism of peace-reconciliation is increasingly emerging. With God it is possible to revisit one’s own history and, through an inner pacification operated by God, people discover the possibility of a change. It is the experience of ever greater inner freedom, which undoes hidden knots, rediscovering the infinite love that God has for each of us.
Fascinated by evangelical peace and grateful to God for the fruits of reconciliation that God has given us, we commit ourselves to evangelization. Music and singing, solidarity, collaboration in the pastoral care of the Dioceses, publications, service to the poorest, accompaniment, seminar of inner pacification, reception of migrants, support for families in difficulty, are some of the ways of announcing the charism.
On the 31st January 1997, the Archbishop of Trento, H. Exc. Mons. Giovanni Maria Sartori approves the Shalom Community Association as a Private Association of Lay Faithful of the Catholic Church. The approval received by the Church is an encouragement to live and spread the Gospel of the Peace.
On December 8, 2010, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Archbishop of Trento, H.E. Mons. Luigi Bressan approved the renewed Statute.
Death of Father Domenico Pincelli
After a long period of illness, on the 20th of June 2003, Father Domenico Pincelli passes away. The spiritual inheritance he left us includes trust in the mercy of God and in the Sacrament of reconciliation; love for the Word of God and the Eucharist; love for Mary. Love, pray and forgive: these are the words that Father Domenico was used to repeating and that nowadays still are alive among the members in all of Via Pacis.
Expansion in the world
The announcement of peace and reconciliation crosses the geographical borders of Italy, to spread all over the world, giving birth to new Via Pacis Communities in other countries of the world. The Via Pacis family enriches in languages, cultures, local traditions, experiences, and new projects.
At the presence of the founders and many members coming from the Communities around the world, on the 8th of December 2014 in the Vatican City, Via Pacis Association was approved as a private international association of faithful, with legal status, with the decree of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
In 2016, after almost 40 years from the birth of the Association, the Via Pacis International Center was inaugurated in Northern Italy, in the city of Arco. The International Center is the organizational center and the place where the different Communities from all over the world meet together.