by Emma Dodson

In the ever-evolving landscape of Catholic education, the integration of technology to enhance the prayer life of a community might seem unconventional or perhaps even counterintuitive. However, for JSerra Catholic High School, the adoption of the Hallow for Schools program has proven to be a transformative step in fortifying their Catholic identity and working toward their mission to create lifelong disciples.

The integration of Hallow into educational institutions commenced several years ago, prompted by educators who approached the founders of Hallow, recognizing a need within schools to connect with students on matters of faith. Faced with elevated stress levels, disaffiliation from the Catholic Church among students, and a lack of engagement with traditional faith-based education, schools sought innovative ways to facilitate the development of a meaningful relationship with God. Recognizing the need to support the institutional church, the Hallow team decided to devise a program tailored for schools.

Patrick Reidy, Vice President of Mission and Faith at JSerra and Board Member of Duc In Altum Schools Collaborative, expressed the school’s keen interest in “maximizing the numbers of encounters young people and our staff and parents have with Jesus Christ.” Acknowledging the challenges of achieving this goal in practical terms, Reidy shared that partnering with Hallow seemed a natural fit. He remarked, “We thought this would be the type of tool that St. John Paul II and St. Maximilian Kolbe would be proud of and would encourage us as a preeminent means for engaging young people in their milieu.” Following the implementation of the Hallow program in the Fall of 2022, the school experienced transformative outcomes.

Each Hallow for Schools implementation is tailored to the specific needs and objectives of the individual school. At JSerra, the introduction of Hallow to teachers occurred during a training session led by Hallow’s Partner Success Team. While the use of Hallow was not mandated, Reidy emphasized that the school communicated its belief that it was a valuable tool for teaching students how to pray. With educators like Anna White, Theology Department Chair, leading the way in exposing students to the app during class, the school witnessed rapid positive outcomes from this initiative.

Hallow provided a tangible resource for both students already interested in the faith and those less familiar with developing a prayer practice. For students actively engaged in their faith, Hallow offered a means to deepen their understanding of Catholic prayer and meditative techniques. Simultaneously, it became a bridge for students lacking confidence and resources to commence a prayer life. White likened the experience of developing a prayer life to adding training wheels to a bike, noting that Hallow gave students the confidence to believe that a prayer life was not only possible but also feasible. Dusay Fields, senior at JSerra, echoed White’s sentiment saying that prior to Hallow she was trying to figure out how to have an active prayer life and now “just being able to have these resources that previously I didn’t really have access to was so rewarding” and allowed her to “really dive into my faith with God.”

Looking ahead, JSerra envisions a future where Hallow remains an integral part of their educational landscape. White expressed a sense of reliance on Hallow for chapel time and student engagement, stating that she would be apprehensive if they ever lost access to the program. Despite strict cell phone policies and a mindful approach to technology use, Reidy highlighted how imperative “new evangelization” is in response to the needs of this generation. He emphasized the necessity for schools to employ “new ways and new methods with new ardor to bring the gospel to people, especially young people.” The alignment of Catholic education goals, Hallow’s platform and content, and the mission of DIA instills confidence in the JSerra team that “Hallow has taken our school to the next level of delivering on that mission.”

Join JSerra and other Duc In Altum Schools Collaborative schools in partnering with Hallow to strengthen the mental and spiritual health of your students, faculty, and families! Learn more by scheduling a meeting with the Hallow Schools Team at hallow.com/DIA or join us for the upcoming webinar with Hallow Co-Founder, Alessandro DiSanto, on Catholic vs Secular Meditation by registering here.

About Hallow

Hallow is the #1 Catholic prayer and meditation app in the world. Not only does Hallow have over 12 million downloads and 300 million prayers completed, but it also became the first faith-based app to ever make the list of Top 10 apps in the App Store, beating out Netflix, Spotify, Instagram, Tiktok, and even YouTube to take the number 3 spot.

Hallow for Schools is a transformative program designed to assist grade schools, high schools, universities and religious education programs in fostering social-emotional learning, strengthening Catholic identity, and enhancing familial engagement in faith formation.

With sessions led by Johnathon Roumie, Sr. Miram James Heidland, Mark Wahlberg, Fr. Robert Spitzer, and more, Hallow boasts over 10,000 sessions on the app. These sessions are designed to help individuals discover new techniques for prayer and meditation and dive deeper into their personal relationship with God. Sessions for students include Daily Virtues, Sacramental Preparation, Stress & Anxiety Management, Advent/Lent Challenges, and more!

Hallow Community Partnerships Team (schools@hallow.app)