Hi guys. Welcome back to another episode of Hear and Now Podcast. I’m so excited to introduce Taylor from Hallow app and I can’t wait to talk about all the things related to that. but Taylor, Hi, thank you so much for joining us today.
Thank you Sophia for having me.
I can’t wait to learn more about how to use it myself. I’m one of your brand reps and it’s such a cool app, and I really just want to learn all the things that we can about it. So why don’t you introduce yourself to the audience and tell us more about you and hallow?
Sure. Yeah. So as you mentioned, my name is Taylor. I am the growth marketing lead at hallow.
I work with a lot of our partners in various capacities, we have some incredible partners like yourself and, I am a mom. I live in Utah. some of the hallow team is spread out. that’s the beauty of remote work these days. And so, yeah, I have a three-year-old daughter and I’m actually pregnant with a little boy. So, yeah, due in April, a couple of weeks after Easter, so very exciting. But, yeah, that’s a little bit about me. I can talk now about Hallow in general. So hollow is the number one Catholic prayer and meditation app. We have over 400,000 downloads. Five stars in the app store with over 10,000 reviews. And it is a prayer and meditation app. So anything from the rosary to a daily Lectio Divina, we also have content for sleep, so we have some really awesome Bible stories read by really incredible Catholic speakers, such as Father Mike Schmitz and Jonathan Rumi. And the app is completely free to download and then we have a subscription version with some of the prayers in it, and I believe you have a code for that.
I do that will probably be in the show notes below. So you guys can check that out.
Perfect. Yeah. So there’s over, I think now we’re at over 750 meditations within the app, which is super incredible, really blessed. I think we also just hit 3 million prayers prayed, within the app, probably more with our, our last few challenges, the Advent challenge, and then the, right challenge as well.
That’s incredible. I think, you know, those numbers just means so much, especially when things are kind of in a rocky place, just that hope and reassurance that people are actually praying and trusting and hoping. It’s just really cool.
So you did mention about the Catholic meditation piece. I kind of want to touch on that because I’ve had some questions about that as well.
So what is the difference between Catholic meditation and you know, maybe regular yoga, meditation and all of that kind of stuff.
Yeah, absolutely. We get asked this a lot. And we also get asked too by Catholics: “Can Catholics meditate?” So that’s something that maybe we can touch on as well. But really the, what I would say is the fundamental difference between Catholic meditation and, and we also like to refer to as contemplative prayer.
I think that like meditation, especially in like a world that’s increasingly secular is getting wrapped up in that idea of mindfulness. And that’s the one thing that we don’t, the one word that we really don’t use. But the fundamental difference between, you know, your like Headspace and Calm apps that promote meditation and mindfulness and versus Hallow, which promotes meditation, but contemplative prayer is really where you’re turning to or who you’re turning to. So when you have an app like Calm or Headspace, you’re a lot of the prompts are in stress, you to turn inward, to rid your mind of any thoughts or to like focus on your soul or like in yoga, you’re focusing on your chakras, whatever that is.
And so it’s all, it’s like very self-centered. Whereas contemplative prayer and Catholic meditation is very God-centered. It’s not, it’s about turning outward instead of turning inward. And so, especially when you’re, when you’re going through a really hard time, which I think a lot of us have gone through a lot of hard times in the last year or so, you know, and you’re constantly turning inward-you just build up all of this, maybe it’s anger or sadness or frustration, and it has nowhere to go. And yeah, maybe you’re like absorbing it or whatever into your body, but it’s, that’s not how God wants us to live our lives. He wants us to turn to Him in those moments of sadness and those moments of despair and the moments of joy and talk to Him and have a conversation with Him.
And so Catholic meditation is as defined actually in the Catechism. So this, we can hit a little bit on like Catholic view of meditation. A lot of people say like, Oh, Catholics can’t meditate, but they confuse it with that, like Eastern secular view. And the catechism actually defines it in CCC 2705 “As above all a quest but the mind seeks to understand the why and how of the Christian life in order to adhere and respond to what the Lord is asking.” It’s turning to God and listening to him and trying to understand what he is telling you in that exact moment. And so the Catholics have been meditating for 2000 years. That’s actually part of the Hallow founding story is that a lot of the founding team was really struggling with their faith, was struggling with their lives, had heard of all these secular meditation apps, which were growing in popularity. And they reached out to a former rector of theirs and said, “Hey, do the Catholics have any of this like meditation stuff.”
And he basically laughed at them and were like, yes, the Catholics have been meditating for over 2000 years, it’s called prayer. and so there’s other forms of Catholic meditation. So Lectio Divina, which I think a lot of people are, are familiar with, which is reading a really small passage of the Bible.
It could just be a sentence. It could just be like one verse or it could be a couple of verses and then choosing a word or a phrase that sticks out to you and just sitting with it and thinking about it and talking to God and asking him what he’s trying to say to you in that of phrase or in that’s in that verse.
And it’s a really, really powerful way to pray, in a really powerful way to just talk to God and feel that same calm and inner peace that. That meditation is, is trying to get like, it’s, it’s great that all these people are trying to meditate and, you know, practice mindfulness as a way to reduce stress. But really the best way is by running to our Father and talking to him and hearing what he has to say about it. And he will be your ultimate comforter. And so it really, it really takes all of your thoughts and your emotions and it like puts them together so that you are just focusing on God. So that’s like a little bit on meditation and then I think what’s really beautiful is, what Saint Theresa [of Avila] says about contemplative prayer.
And she says, “Contemplative prayer, in my opinion, is nothing else than a close sharing between friends. It means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us, contemplative prayer seeks him, who my soul loves.” It’s just, it’s such like a beautiful expression of what it means to spend that time in prayer.
And I think that people aren’t, you know, they are like, Oh, God can like, please help me with this. And, you know, maybe occasionally, like, and I’m grateful for this, but it’s not actually like getting into a dialogue and a conversation with him. And he ultimately just wants to be our friend. He’s the best friend that we could have.
He’s our loving father. And so you know, if you want to spend time with your personal best friend I’m sure. And so you should also want to be able to spend that time with God. Sorry. That was kind of a long, well, I’m bottled, probably very passionate about helping people just understand what it means to engage in contemplative prayer and Catholic meditation.
Absolutely, I think that is one of the aspects that a lot of people tend to maybe neglect in prayer, whether you’re Catholic or not, it’s just that one-on-one conversation with God. And I had touched on this in relation to being single and how you need to go on a date with Christ and you need to have that relationship with him and it’s just the same in the friendship aspect. And so even if you are in a relationship with somebody still having that relationship with God is so important. And one of the things that I always love the imagery of is in a marriage. Kind of off topic too, but that third person in a marriage has to be God.
And for, in order for a marriage to survive, it has to be a Christo centric relationship. And the image of a cross, you know, you have the two people on either side and the one in the middle is God. And so that makes it full cross for you. and so I think that because God is just this intangible omnipresent, Person, divine being, it’s really hard to have a relationship if you can’t actually see him there.
And so I think something like Hallow is so important because it does kind of guide you through like all of these other secular meditations. It’s just the same thing, but in a prayer aspect. So I think that’s so important.
So in relation to some of the other Catholic apps that are out there, what sets Hallow apart from let’s say, I don’t know, Laudate or something similar.
Yeah. well, I would say it’s very different from Laudate in that what pay is a much more text-based. So one of the things about Hallow and it, and I just love, let me just say that I love that you are like one of the biggest promoters of an audio guided app, like that’s just such a beautiful thing to me. [note:because I am deaf]
And, and that is really what makes us stand out a lot from some of these other Catholic apps is the nature of that we’re audio guided.
So we do get asked quite often if we would add the words to the prayers, but our Main philosophy is that your phone, I don’t know if you’ve seen the Social Dilemma,
but your phone is, is an anchor to you all day? You’re constantly on it. There’s constantly a notification popping up and That makes it really hard to have a conversation with God, to like truly focus on just him. I can barely focus if I have my phone on, on the conversation I’m having with my husband at dinner.
So like, think of how much more so when you’re talking to God. And so I think that what, what we really want people to do is press play and then put down their phone and just close their eyes, or just look up and just focus on the conversation that they’re having with God. And so it versus like having everything for you to read is having everything for you to listen. So that’s one of the main things I think that sets us apart. Like if you feel we had somebody, we did a Christmas Novena, the St. Andrew Novena at the beginning of the month and people were asking like, Oh, I don’t know this. And, you know, can I look it up and get it for sure. Like, if you feel like you don’t
know the prayers. I mean, sometimes I’d still like fumble on the Hail Holy Queen, you know, and I’ve been saying that a lot. But if you can, you can look it up and use the words the other nice thing about Hallow is it can kind of go in the background of your phone. So it’s not as if you can’t do other things while you’re, while you’re doing it.
We also just launched music recently. I don’t know if you saw that, but that’s another thing that I really think that’s how a part is that we’re constantly evolving with just different types of content and, you know, trying to make the app super inclusive for as many people as possible, but also so that you can bring God in the conversation at any point throughout your day. So I actually listened to the music most when I’m working, instead of, you know, listening to some secular music or whatever on Spotify, I can actually listen to chant or I can listen to like really beautiful hymns within the app. So, that’s been super powerful. And then another thing is that we’re trying to bring together.
every amazing Catholic person, you know. So we have, you know, Father Mike Schmitz in the app. We have Jonathan Rumi in the app. We think by the time this is recording, we’ll have Jackie and Bobby Angel and Paul Kim, like just so many people incredible, incredible Catholic voices and speakers who, like Matt Fradd and Jason Everett and all these awesome folks who are just letting their voices and talents into the app. So that’s, I would say another, another thing that sets us apart is just the breadth and depth of the content too. We have pray lists on specific topics like discernment or love or calm. And so really trying to if you’re struggling with a particular thing guide you in that conversation that you’re having with God, with Lectio Divinas or with just like general Catholic meditation reflection.
So, yeah, I would say that there’s, there’s many things that sets us apart. The other, the final thing I would say is like visually, we pride ourselves so much on the design of the app and making it the first class, like any app, any amazing app that you’d see from any secular big tech company. Like we want to be at that level because the church is beautiful. And there is so much beauty in the tradition and the history of the church. And we want to be a representation of that in what we’re doing and what we’re presenting. And so we have incredible designers who work on the app. Our development team takes and content team, everyone just takes so much care into like what goes into the app and what it looks like. And I think that that really, really sets us apart. And, you know, people struggle to ask why we charge for part of a subscription, we have a free version, and then we have a premium version. A lot of it is because we want the app to be beautiful and we want the app to be incredible. And to do that, we also have to support, you know, people’s families and these Catholic speakers and other organizations like Focus or, you know, virtual conferences. And so by having this like a part subscription model, it allows us to give back really to other people’s lives. No, absolutely. And I think so two biggest things I noticed about Hallow when I first started using it, even now, it’s just the aesthetics of it. It is just beautiful. You guys really have your branding down. You really know where you want it to go. And I think that’s just so cool. Like, you know, you see the little icons of people, like I’m like, Oh, I know that’s Father Mike Schmitz, it looks just like him. You know what I mean—which is so funny.
And then the other thing is the accessibility. Is that there is at least for me, I should say those Gregorian chants and looking for those things, I feel like it’s so.
inaccessible for a lot of people. It’s not something you’re going to find on Spotify. You’re going to see secular music at ranking at number one, and you’re not going to have those prayers that are distinctively Catholic. Yeah, such great point.
Yeah. I think just having everything in one place for Catholics is just so cool and it’s just so needed because there’s, you know, I was thinking as you’re, as you were talking about it, how Laudate or something like that, If I’m reading a prayer, I get lost. I get off track. I have to go back and start over again.
And so something that’s audio guided, I can follow along and I can go about my day. I love doing the rosary while I’m sitting here, you know, reading for my theology class or something like that. So it’s really that element of multitasking that I think is really important.
And so it really makes it easy to incorporate something so important into your day.
I was going to ask what are some of the ways that you’ve incorporated Hallow into your day and have seen maybe your partners or some users of your app kind of bringing that into their day?
Yeah for sure. I’ve seen it in lots of different ways.
I’ve also seen it evolve in my life. I love what you said about like discovering things that you maybe wouldn’t have otherwise discovered. I’m actually a convert to Catholicism. And so I went through a very lackluster RCIA program during college and was a very lackluster Catholic for most of the time that I was Catholic.
And I had a really incredible conversion actually in the last year when COVID really started. And it’s been super beautiful to see. But I never, I didn’t even know that like some of these prayers existed, I don’t even think I knew the difference between the rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet and like what, what you said for each and just the different types of spirituality and the different ways of praying.
And so I think too, like even for cradle Catholics, for converts, for people who think they know what that you know, their theology that the app just helps expose you to different ways of praying that you might genuinely fall in love with, so for me, I I’d never had pregnant novena until our 54 day novena this last year.
And, I guess the surrender novena was first and so it was incredible. I absolutely, I loved it and I don’t think I ever would have done that without the app. You know, definitely by the end of the 54 days, I’m like, okay, we can make it, we can do it. We can get through.
I use Hallow at multiple points throughout the day, even more so now with the music.
So I mentioned that I, I listen to music a lot when I’m working. It’s very good like for focusing, I can just have it on in the background. I don’t really have to think about it. And so that’s, that’s super great. I also do Lectio Divina every day in the afternoon. So, you know, you get to that like three o’clock mark and you were like so tired and you just need a mental break. I just go and I lay down and I turn on the daily gospel and I reflect on that.
When we had our, our, advent challenge, I was doing that during that time. And then the Pray 40 Challenge that’s coming up. I will be doing that during that time.
But, I use it, I use it. Then I also use the rosary with my daughter. So she’s three and she doesn’t always want to hear me say the rosary. And so, you know, maybe one night we can get through a decade and maybe when we can get through the whole thing. But it’s a really great tool for me to just give her someone else’s voice news or have it on in the background.
And then, my favorite content is actually the sleep. So all of the Bible stories, the sleep examine, the sleep Lectios, I can’t fall asleep without having something on from Hallow in the background. And it’s just so comforting to me and I had a lot of trouble sleeping and a lot of our users and partners talk about that too, that they just you know, sleep, sleep disorders are like one of the biggest, I would say like Untalked about, not talked about problems that people are experiencing right now. And so being able to use something that actually helps you to fall asleep and stay asleep and, prayerfully go to sleep is, is really great. We also have a lot of partners, especially like new moms who listen while they’re nursing. We have all of Father Mike Schmitz’ homilies on the app. And we also now have his Bible in a year on the app. And so, that’s another thing, I think that a lot of people like, because other than that, you can only find his homies on YouTube. Well, when you’re on YouTube, you can’t do other stuff while you have your YouTube up, because it only let’s you be on YouTube.
So you can listen to his homily while you’re doing dishes or, you know, it’s almost like a podcast in that, in that way, although we are trying very hard not to become a podcast app. Then we have other people who really love the playlist like, especially we have a discernment playlist. So if you’re discerning like a new job or something like that, you know, using one of those, but yeah, the, I, it still, some of the most popular and heavily used things are the daily rosary, the daily Lectio, which are both free content and updated every day. And, as well as then a lot of the sleep.
And then we’re gradually moving, putting a lot of our content into Spanish as well. And so that’s sort of another, another great use. But yeah, people use it when they’re taking walks in the morning when they’re drinking coffee. It’s a really great way to pray with a spouse or a significant other. I think that people have a hard time praying with their, with their significant other. It’s kind of an uncomfortable thing if you’re not used to praying with other people. So, you know, putting on the daily gospel, you each are going to have a different reflection.
And it’s really great because it prompts you to have a conversation about, you know, you said that the center of your relationship, which is God. And talk to them. The other side of the cross about, you know, what that center is telling each of you.
Yeah, absolutely a hundred percent. And I just, I can’t, you know, applaud you guys.
Thank you enough for all of the things that you are doing in Hallow, and it’s just, it’s revolutionary really. And I really can’t wait to see the growth, of not only the app but for other people, how they can find themselves growing in their relationship with God—so super important.
What advice would you have for the listeners to try and incorporate hallow into their day If they kind of really don’t know where to start? And of you touched on it just a bit, but, any other thoughts or advice.
Yeah, so one of the things we have something in the app called the daily hallow. Like people say, you know, we have over 700 meditations now and people are like, this is really overwhelming. It’s like, when I turn on Netflix and I scroll for an hour, and then I ended up just turning off the TV, cause I don’t know what to do with myself. So we have the daily Hallow, which will give you like a suggested thing to do every day so that you can then figure out what you like and what you don’t like.
Obviously, if you’re a rosary person, you know, starting off with a rosary is great. If you’ve never done a rosary, you don’t like to do a rosary that’s okay. Everybody has their own preferences. The daily gospel is, is it’s so great, because it’s just so connected to everyone. So even if you’re not Catholic and we have a lot of non-Catholic users, you’d actually be quite surprised we have like a lot of Hindu users, interestingly enough. But it’s just like connecting with God’s word that’s something every really every Christian religion does is read the Bible. So the daily Lectio is a really great place to start. We also, and I didn’t touch too much on this we have these great guests sessions, which are a little bit like podcasts, but more like mini Ted talks of you know, great Catholic speakers doctors.
We have guest session on St. Teresa of Avila. We have a guest session on grief by Laura Kelly Fanucci. we have all the Blessed is She meditations now. So Blessed is She has daily gospel reflections. That would be a really great place to start. And then the last place, obviously it would be the Sleep content.
Again, like most of them are Bible stories, so very familiar, you know, pieces of content. I also love the Examen and I think that it’s a very under talked about part of the app, we, we just don’t talk about it that much. But to look back at your day and just like reflect on all of the things that happened and all the things that you can be grateful for is really powerful, like very, very powerful.
And so, you know, even if, even if you’re not Catholic, if you are Catholic, I, I would definitely recommend trying out the Examen, Sleep Examen.
Yeah, that’s one of the areas that I have yet to explore at this moment. So I’m definitely going to take that in consideration and figure that out. Cause I tend to journal at night right before I go to bed and I reflect on my day, but it’s not this deep and soulful thing.
It’s kind of just like, Oh, I did this, this and this. And this is how I felt. And so that’s one of my intentions for 2021 at this point, it’s just really dive into not only my relationship with God, but like how I’m communicating that with other people. How am I reflecting on my day at the end of the night and just really having this intentional aspect of my day is really going to be necessary for me. Cause I love to reflect, I love to just take that time to kind of be like, okay, this is where I can improve, this is what happened today. So super necessary. And so I’m so glad that you brought that up. I’m going to add that to my to-do list to check that out for sure.
So do you have anything you want to share, like, you know, hints for growth that you’re planning for in the new year? Any special projects you guys are working on that you want to talk about?
Yeah. Yeah so we have our Pray 40 challenge starting for Lent and it’s going to be incredible. People really, really loved our Advent challenge. Our content team is just so, so amazing. They’re incredible. But the Pray 40 challenge and I don’t, I, I’m not going to share like a ton of the details. Yeah, it’s as they’re still being a little bit developed, but it is 40 days of prayer, it’s going to be different, different things. So it’s not like.
Advent challenge we did 25 days through the gospel of Matthew. The Pray 40 challenge is actually going to be like a week of this, like a novena here. We’re doing like a daily Saint. So every day of the challenge is actually probably going to be something different. But the goal is to get you to pray for all of the 40 days of Lent.
And hopefully that shouldn’t be too hard for people, but, and it’s, you know, anywhere from, you know, you can, the nice thing about Hallow too, and I don’t think I touched it. Is, you can choose your time. So we have five minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes. So you really don’t have any excuse.
It’s like, if you can’t take five minutes to talk to God, then I don’t know. You know, I don’t think you have a life or you should probably maybe rearrange some rearrange, some things in your priorities, but yeah. So there will be different timelines for the reflection. So we’re super excited about that.
We announced sort of towards the end of 2020 that we have more content with Jonathan Rumi really coming out. So that should I think, becoming on around Easter. So, and then we’re, we’re building out more Spanish content as we go into the summer. More music. I think we’re going to have like, Lenten or Easter hymns that are going to maybe going into the app as well.
So we’re always, always adding content. I think we’re going to do Marian consecration, towards the summer. So yeah, lots of, really, really fun things. And we love, you know, when, when users email us and suggest things. We take them really seriously and we try to fit them into our content calendar at some point.
So, yeah, that’s the everyone’s been working super hard on the Pray 40 Lent challenge.
I’m excited to do that and I think, you know, my specific intention and sacrifice for this Lent is to really take time, to kind of go deeper and figure out that intentional piece as well. So I’m excited. I’m looking forward to that to you.
So the last questions that I have are where can people download Hallow and on what social media can they connect with you?
Yeah, for sure. Well, I can give the social medias and then you can give your link for downloading Hallow And I think that the link for like right before Lent is like a really, really good offer like a really extended free trial, similar to what we did for advent.
So, but you can find Hallow on Instagram. That’s like our biggest platform and on Facebook as well. We do a lot of like live events. So we did a live, event with Jonathan Rumi for Advent. We’ll probably be doing something similar for Lent we’ve done live events with some of the artists that are featured in the music on the app. So definitely check us out on Facebook and on Instagram it’s @Hallowapp. So, you know, keep up with us there. We also do a ton of giveaways, which is really fun. So, definitely give us, give us a follow a comment, send us a message.
We honestly, we, myself and other members of the team, we read them all. So you know, if you ever have any feedback or anything you’d like to share, please just send us a message for super open.
Yeah, and you guys can also download hallow @hello.com/sophialebano The link will be in the show notes for you guys as well.
But Taylor, thank you so much for joining us today. This was wonderful.
Thank you. No, I, this was so much fun. I loved, being on your podcast and I hope that people can have just like a really amazing, Lent experience, can grow closer to God, can feel in a much better place in 2021 Lent than we were in 2020 Lent.
For sure 100%. yeah, everybody thank you guys so much for tuning in this week to Hear and Now podcast. Without further ado, don’t forget to subscribe, like and check out all of Hallow and the links in the show notes below, and we will see you guys back next time. Bye.