Catholic prayer and meditation app Hallow is not even five years old yet, but it’s already the top Catholic app in the world, connecting literally millions of people in prayer, scripture, and meditation and hitting an astounding 175 million prayers prayed.
Those numbers are mind-blowing, Hallow CEO and co-founder Alex Jones told The Daily Wire, and such success is a testament to God. But when it comes to a “vision” for the app, or how Jones and company measure the success of Hallow, the 29-year-old answered directly, “A couple more people in Heaven would be nice.”
“Maybe a couple more people who are in that really dark spot, who might be lost, who might feel like they’re all alone — maybe a couple of those people might experience the warmth of God’s love,” Jones said. “So it’s that for us, that’s really what we’re focused on.”
Hallow was founded in December 2018 by Jones and his two friends, Erich Kerekes and Alessandro DiSanto. Kerekes serves as Hallow’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and DiSanto as Chief Commercial Officer (CCO).
Jones, an Ohio native who was raised Catholic, fell away from his faith in high school and college. After graduating college, he got into secular meditation, but noticed he was always being pulled toward something spiritual and Christian as he meditated. Then agnostic, Jones recalled trying to figure out what was happening, asking others, including priests, “Hey, is there any way that there’s some sort of intersection here between this meditation thing and this faith thing?”
“They all laughed at me and said, ‘Yeah, we’ve been doing it for more than 2,000 years. It’s called prayer,'” Jones recollected, giving off a laugh. “You probably should have heard about it.”
After this revelation, Jones said he “started learning all about these really beautiful, really powerful contemplative and meditative techniques within the Church tradition,” setting him and his friends on the path toward creating Hallow, which the CEO described as being guided and improved upon by God at every step along the way.
The name Hallow has personal significance to Jones, too. “I randomly opened up a Bible that was laying around to Matthew 6, where He teaches the Lord’s prayer. And the word ‘hallow’ is the word that stuck out to me that I meditated on — ‘hallowed be thy name,'” the CEO said. “And it just changed my life, brought me to tears, brought me back to my faith. It’s the most powerful experience in my life. My faith is now the center of who I am, the most important part of who I am; daily mass, confession, all that stuff — it brought me back to the beauty of all the Church teachings.”
Hallow has garnered more than 100,000 five-star reviews, some of them expressing deeply personal change and healing from God after finding the app.
Jones, becoming emotional, recalled to The Daily Wire some notes the Hallow team has received from users.
“We get these notes from people who are really lost, people who’ve been addicted, abused, who are struggling or suicidal, who are in a really negative, really dark space — young women who have body image issues, older men who have addiction issues; they write to us and say, God changed my life through this,” he explained.
“I was about to kill myself and God saved my life through prayer, through this app,” Jones recalled one message, before describing another, “I’ve never been able to look at myself and see myself as beautiful, and I heard God say to me, you are loved. I made you this way. You are beautiful.”
“We get these notes every day and it’s just such a beautiful testimony to the power of God,” the CEO noted. “And if you just sit and give Him five, 10 minutes of your day, He can change your life.”
“We busy ourselves with all these distractions in life, and we never just sit in silence and try to let God into our hearts. And, for us, that’s really what it’s about,” Jones continued. “When people think about, you know, what’s the vision for Hallow? I’m like, I don’t know — a couple more people in heaven would be nice.”
Hallow, which made history on Ash Wednesday by landing at the number #3 spot on the App Store’s “Top Charts,” is not the only faith-based content feeding a large audience. “The Bible in a Year” podcast hosted by Father Mike Schmitz — who’s also teamed up with Hallow — has tremendous reach, the show “The Chosen” is the most successful crowdfunded TV series or film project, and new faith-based movie “Jesus Revolution” landed in the number 3 spot at the box office over the weekend.
“I get really excited about this as potentially a moment of revival within the Church,” Jones said, adding that this faith-based content and media “speaks to these deep needs and these deep hurts and these deep wounds … in a way that really nothing else can.”
“I think we’re all really hungry for it, and we’re all in deep need of it,” the co-founder continued. “And I think COVID showed us that. With the depth of pain, anger, frustration, loneliness, depression, anxiety, grief — we can kind of distract ourselves from God in our normal day-to-day life when nothing crazy happens — but in those kinds of moments, you just realize how deep of a need you have, and the only thing that can really fill it is faith and God.”
Jones noted that a friend recently experienced the loss of a child when his wife had a stillborn son. “They had to give birth and then bury their son the same day,” Jones said. “And there’s just nothing — you know, you can go for a run or, or sit and focus on your breath for a while, or, try to journal or whatever it is — but there’s just nothing that can speak to that deep of a wound. All of that seems silly when you’re talking about someone who lost their kid or when you’re talking about someone who’s been struggling with addiction for 10 years. Only God can speak to the depth of that.”
Despite all its success, Hallow is certainly not slowing down. Last Wednesday, the app kicked off its 40-day Lent Challenge, which lasts, of course, until Easter Sunday.
The Christian application has teamed up with a range of big-name Catholics for the challenge, including actor Mark Wahlberg, who promoted Hallow during an interview on the “Today” show on Ash Wednesday. Fr. Schmitz, “Passion of the Christ” actor Jim Caviezel, Jonathan Roumie of “The Chosen,” and Rwandan genocide survivor and best-selling author Immaculée Ilibagiza also work with Hallow for the challenge.
“This is kind the first time we’ve done anything like this, which has been really great,” Jones said. The app shot up to the overall #3 spot on the App Store’s “Top Charts” the day it launched.
“For forty days, He walked through the desert,” the Hallow site reads. “Thirsty, hungry, tired, and tempted by the devil. And He continued His walk all the way to His loving sacrifice for us on the cross. A sacrifice for each and every one of us.”
“Together, as one community from all over the world, we’ll pray for 40 days leading up to His crucifixion and resurrection on Easter Sunday,” it continues. “We’ll journey through the life-changing spiritual classic the Imitation of Christ and focus our prayer and meditation on the three pillars of Lent: prayer, fasting, and giving.”
Disclosure: Hallow is an occasional advertiser with The Daily Wire
Related: ‘That’s An Even Bigger Sin’: Mark Wahlberg Says ‘Faith’ Is ‘Not Popular’ In Hollywood