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After Super Bowl ad, Catholic prayer app Hallow sees biggest spike in its history

February 12, 2024 Catholic News Agency 2
A still from Hallow’s Super Bowl commercial that aired Feb. 11, 2024. / Credit: Hallow

CNA Staff, Feb 12, 2024 / 17:45 pm (CNA).

The Catholic prayer app Hallow aired its first-ever commercial during Super Bowl LVIII, which saw the Kansas City Chiefs win their second consecutive championship on Feb. 11. Immediately following the airing of the ad, Hallow saw the biggest spike in downloads in its history, according to Alex Jones, CEO of Hallow. 

“It was the most downloads in a single minute we’d ever seen,” Jones told CNA. “We’re already ranking ahead of Netflix on the App Store charts and Lent hasn’t even started yet. Glory to God.” 

The 30-second ad was shown in 15 markets across the country.

The commercial began with Catholic actor Mark Wahlberg, who recently starred in “Father Stu,” blessing himself with holy water as he enters a church. 

“We take this moment to give you thanks. We thank you for this time to come together as a family, as friends, and as a country. Help us Lord, especially this Lent, to grow closer to you. Amen,” Wahlberg’s voice said as images of a family at the dinner table, friends at a football game, a group of soldiers, and Catholic actor Jonathan Roumie receiving ashes on his forehead were shown. 

The commercial ended with Wahlberg encouraging viewers to join Hallow in prayer this Lenten season.

“It was a phenomenal night. A dream come true. For the first time ever during the Super Bowl, we all got to take 30 seconds to give thanks to God,” Jones, who is also co-founder of Hallow, told CNA in an interview.

“We’ve been blown away by the responses to the spot,” he said. “We’ve heard from many who were inspired to join us and give prayer a try for the first time in a long time this Lent.”

Jones shared that they were “humbled” to see the response from people, receiving thousands of emails, tweets, and text messages from people sharing their thoughts. 

“It was a huge bet for us,” he said. “When we were producing the spot we decided really to just focus on making it all about Jesus — just on spending time in prayer with God. It was amazing to see how the spot resonated with so many. It was an honor to get to pray together and we’re thrilled to continue to pray together with everyone this Lent.”

Another faith-based ad aired during the Super Bowl was created by a nondenominational group with the intention of sharing Jesus’ love to all audiences. “He Gets Us” also aired two commercials during last year’s Super Bowl, which were met with mixed reactions.

This year, the minute-long commercial was titled “Foot Washing” and showed several still images of individuals having their feet washed, including a woman outside of a family planning clinic. 

The ad ends with the words “Jesus didn’t teach hate. He washed feet.”

According to the group’s website, this year’s theme was chosen to “focus on the thematic inverse of last year’s commercial — one built on the premise of love and unity. And with an upcoming election year that will be filled with division and derision, we decided to focus on one of the most important directives given by Jesus — love your neighbor.”


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Pray with the cast of ‘The Chosen’ this Advent season on Hallow

November 29, 2022 Catholic News Agency 0
Hallow’s Advent feat. The Chosen: #Pray25 Prayer Challenge / Hallow

Denver, Colo., Nov 29, 2022 / 16:30 pm (CNA).

Advent is a season of preparation, hope, and joy as we await the birth of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As in every Advent, we are called during this time to prepare our hearts for his miraculous birth. 

This Advent, Hallow, a Catholic meditation and prayer app, invites us to dive further into the journey that led to Christ’s birth by participating in the Advent #Pray25 Challenge featuring the cast of “The Chosen,” the hit streaming series about Jesus and his first disciples. 

Join Jonathan Roumie, the actor who plays Jesus; Elizabeth Tabish, who plays Mary Magdalene; George Harrison Xanthis, who plays John the Evangelist; Paras Patel, who plays Matthew; Vanessa Benavente, who plays Mother Mary; David Amito, who plays John the Baptist; and Dallas Jenkins, the director and founder of “The Chosen,” in daily reflections, prayers, and meditations that tell the story of salvation. 

These daily reflections will take the listener back to the beginning with Adam and Eve, continue with Noah, Abraham, Moses, Ruth, David, and the prophets in the Old Testament, and end with the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Nativity in the New Testament, showing how God has called people throughout the generations.

The 25-day prayer challenge starts “in the beginning” with a meditation on the opening of the Gospel of John, read by Xanthis, and then turns its focus back to the Old Testament with the Book of Genesis. Each session starts with prayer followed by a reading from Scripture and ends with thought-provoking questions to guide your meditative prayer. 

When asked what his favorite part of the challenge was during an Instagram livestream Monday, Roumie explained that the imaginative prayers with Benavente, who plays Mother Mary, were particularly “impactful.”

“A lot of the placing yourself in the time periods and the moments before, and the moments leading up to Christmas, I think a lot of those readings were really impactful for me personally,” he explained. “Especially having that on-screen relationship with Vanessa Benavente, who plays Mother Mary, and then just thinking about our interactions and thinking about some of the stuff coming up this season even.”

Roumie added: “I think it was a really powerful instinct to move forward to try to execute this for Advent this year. I think people are really going to come away from it changed on another level.”

“I am excited for people to pray with their favorite characters on the show,” he said.

Alex Jones, CEO of Hallow, said in a press release on Nov. 23: “We’ve been blessed at Hallow to partner with a lot of amazing content creators, but I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to announce a partnership than I am today. ‘The Chosen’ has changed my own life and brought so many millions of folks around the world closer to Christ. We’re blessed to be able to journey together with some of our favorite folks from the series this Advent season in a one-of-a-kind prayer experience.”

“The Chosen,” created and directed by Jenkins, an evangelical Christian, premiered on Christmas Eve in 2017. During its first season, the show was the largest-ever crowdfunded television series. The series has been translated into 56 languages and has more than 420 million views worldwide.

The first two episodes of Season 3 are being shown in theaters through Dec. 14. The production was among the top 10 grossing films over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, outselling “She Said,” the film about Harvey Weinstein and the “Me Too” movement.

“The Chosen” can be streamed for free through The Chosen app for iOS or Android systems and the website of its distributor, Angel Studios. From the app you can stream to your TV using another device, such as Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, Android TV, and Chromecast. Season 1 was recently released on Netflix. The seasons are also available to purchase on DVD/BluRay.

Hallow bills itself as “the No. 1 Catholic app in the world” and the “No. 1 Christian app in the United States.” Launched in 2018, it has had more than four million downloads and has been used to pray more than 100 million times across 150 countries, according to the press release. It can be downloaded on the App Store and Google Play. 

Watch the trailer for Hallow’s “Advent featuring The Chosen: #Pray25 Prayer Challenge” here: 


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News Briefs

Ideas to help you have a fruitful Lent

February 28, 2022 Catholic News Agency 1

Closeup shot of a woman holding her hands together and praying over an open Bible. / Shutterstock

Denver Newsroom, Feb 28, 2022 / 16:10 pm (CNA).
Lent is a time of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. We, as Catholics, are called to walk through th… […]