After Super Bowl Ad, Catholic Prayer App Hallow Sees Biggest Spike in Its History

The 30-second commercial, shown in 15 markets across the country, featured Catholic actors Mark Wahlberg and Jonathan Roumie.

A still from Hallow’s Super Bowl commercial, featuring (L to R) Mark Walhberg and Jonathan Roumie, that aired Feb. 11
A still from Hallow’s Super Bowl commercial, featuring (L to R) Mark Walhberg and Jonathan Roumie, that aired Feb. 11 (photo: Hallow)

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, known for The Chosen, 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 that aired during the Super Bowl was created by a nondenominational group with the intention of sharing Jesus’ love to all audiences. “He Gets Us,” which also aired two commercials during last year’s Super Bowl, was 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 facility. 

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.”

Liam Neeson attends the UK premiere of 'Marlowe' at Vue West End in London on March 16, 2023.

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