For the first time in Super Bowl history, an ad for a Catholic prayer app has created history by generating a record spike in downloads.

Called “Hallow,” the app aired during the February 11 Super Bowl LVIII, which the Kansas City Chiefs won in the team’s second consecutive championship.

Super Bowl commercials are a significant draw during the event, commanding as much as $7 million for a 30-second spot this year. Unlike the usual big game advertisement—not to mention the typical app— Hallow took a different approach by simply encouraging Americans to pray.

The results have been astonishing. “It was the most downloads in a single minute we’d ever seen,” Alex Jones, the CEO and co-founder of Hollow, told Catholic News Agency (CNA) in an interview “We’re already ranking ahead of Netflix on the App Store charts and Lent hasn’t even started yet.” 

“It was a phenomenal night. A dream come true,” Jones told CNA. “For the first time ever during the Super Bowl, we all got to take 30 seconds to give thanks to God.” 

“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,” Jones added. “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.”

Touted as the top Catholic meditation app with 14 million downloads, Hallow offers peace, improved sleep, and a deeper connection with the divine.

The commercial opened with acclaimed Hollywood actor Mark Wahlberg, known for his recent role in the 2022 film Father Stu, blessing himself with holy water as he enters a church.  

“We take this moment to give you thanks,” narrated Wahlberg, as images were shown 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.

“We thank you for this time to come together as a family, as friends, and as a country,” the narration continued. “Help us Lord, especially this Lent, to grow closer to you. Amen.”  

The commercial concluded with Wahlberg inviting viewers to participate in prayer with Hallow during the Lenten season.

In a February 11 article titled, “What’s the Deal With That Mark Wahlberg Prayer App, Exactly?” Slate magazine observed that Hallow “seems tailored to appeal to a general, youthful Christian audience, with sleep stories, mental health exercises, popular Christian music, and meditations.”

Several contributors to the Hallow app are well-known lifestyle personalities who earn their livelihood from speaking engagements, the Slate article noted, pointing out that they deliver inspirational messages about “God’s love and wholesome Christian ways of living.”

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