Feb 21, 2024 - Religion

Mark Wahlberg helps Chicago prayer app Hallow's popularity

Profile of face with another man with eyes closed with Hallow logo in center.

Photo courtesy of Hallow.

Super Bowl commercials were scattered with faith-based messages this year, including one from a Christian prayer app started in Chicago.

The big picture: Hallow soared to the top of the Apple App Store this month after a prime-time commercial starring Boston-bred actor, vocal Catholic (and former bad boy) Mark Wahlberg, who invested in the Chicago-based startup.

What they're saying: Alex Jones says he started the app in 2018 as a way to reconnect to his faith and make daily prayer and reflection a part of his daily routine.

  • The app now has 17 million downloads and more than 400 million prayers completed, a spokesperson tells Axios.

Context: Jones was raised Catholic but says he became atheist and agnostic in high school and college. He tells Axios around this same time, he started using apps for meditation and mindfulness and wanted to combine meditation with faith.

How it works: The app features a variety of voices, from celebrities like Wahlberg to clergy and lay people, to guide users through the rosary, Biblical readings, sermons and even music.

  • There's a free version, but the more robust membership is $69.99 annually.
  • In addition to English, the app offers prayers in Portuguese, Spanish, Tagalog, German, Italian and French.

Between the lines: The app is based on Christian and Catholic theology, and Jones says Jesus is "a core part of everything that we do." But he hopes Hallow can also be "a resource for people who are just interested in exploring spirituality and learning how to balance and grow deeper."

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