Notre Dame alumni design prayer, meditation application
Morgan Johnson | Thursday, November 8, 2018
Two Notre Dame alumni are fulfilling the mission of a Holy Cross education by providing busy students and working people with convenient access to faith through their new app, Hallow. Hallow offers guided prayer and meditation sessions to allow users to grow in faith in a Catholic online community. Hallow is scheduled for release at the end of the year.
“Today’s world is crazy,” Hallow co-founder Erich Kerekes, ’15, said in an email. “Society puts an insane amount of pressure on you and there’s an increased expectation to work harder, study harder and perform better. At the same point in time, young people are falling away from their faith faster than ever before. We believe these two problems can be addressed with the same solution: deepening your relationship with God can allow you to bring Him into your day-to-day life and stress, and live in His peace and joy.”
Co-founder and CEO Alex Jones, ’15, created Hallow from his own faith journey. After remaining mostly atheist during college, he grew in faith through prayer as he entered the professional world. As such, he said he wanted to unify contemplative meditation and experience with Christianity.
“Prayer always felt like I was just talking to myself and meditation always seemed like it was constraining what felt like a spiritual experience to a secular box,” Jones said in an email. “So we decided to try and build something that brought these [reflective prayers] to people in a new and modern way.”
Hallow’s mission is similar to that of other meditation apps such as Headspace or Calm, but is rooted in Catholic tradition. Hallow users take advantage of prayer methods they may not have prior exposure to, with the goal of uncovering practical and effective methods in strengthening faith.
“The goal is for Hallow to be ‘the’ Catholic app,” Kerekes said. “We hope that users who are looking to grow in their faith lives in a specific way know that Hallow will be able to help regardless of what that specific way might be. Whether it’s learning new prayer types, forming prayer groups online or in-person or understanding the history of the Church or saints, Hallow will be a resource to which Catholics can turn for growth.”
The name “Hallow” was inspired by Jones’ reflection on the Lord’s prayer through the app, he said.
“It was the first word that resonated with me when I tried Lectio Divina on the Lord’s Prayer and I think it has such a beautiful meaning,” Jones said. “The phrase comes from the line ‘Hallowed be thy name’ and after doing some research we learned that it could mean both that we are praying that God makes holy His own name, and also that we may hallow His name through our lives.”
Jones emphasizes Hallow as a way to supplement spiritual growth in addition to practices such as mass and the sacraments. The prayer life Hallow encourages is intended to guide people to pursue these faithful ventures with passion and fervor.
Hallow was also designed to align with a student lifestyle so that its resources can support a young Catholic seeking to integrate faith and education.
“Transitioning to college is so profoundly different from life in high school that many students report struggling to maintain their faith life with so much going on,” Kerekes said. “Hallow can provide students with a way to take a step back from the stress of studies and extracurriculars to recollect themselves, reflect and enter a relationship with God.”
Seven Notre Dame alumni built Hallow. As such, Jones looks forward to having Notre Dame as Hallow’s first launch market. He also credits his faith and professional development to his studies and friendships formed at Notre Dame.
“The friends I met, my rector … my professors and the beautiful environment all fostered a reconnection with God, and my faith that has changed my life incredibly,” Jones said. “Needless to say, Notre Dame is an incredibly huge reason I have been blessed enough to be on the journey we’re on.”