Catholic app world rocked by two amazing Catholic meditation/sleep apps. Move over Calm.

In late 2018, a young man who had been a fallen-away Catholic put together a team to build an app that addressed a big part of what he had been missing in his spiritual life. As it turns out, he hit upon a key element of spirituality that a lot of other people crave as well–found at the intersection of faith and meditation. What Alex Jones found, besides the #1 Catholic meditation app in the market, changed his life. It will change yours too.

“I tried secular mindfulness apps like Headspace and Calm, but felt they came up short. I tried praying, but thought I was just talking to myself,” he said in a publication for his alma mater, Notre Dame. He said the practice of prayer and meditation he originally discovered in Lectio Divina (a meditative way of reading Scripture) impacted him profoundly with a level of spiritual nourishment he had never experienced before. He found much, much more as he dug into the depths of the 2,000-year-old tradition. His discoveries eventually led to creation of an app that will immerse you too in the rich treasure trove of Catholic meditation. Hand-in-hand with this prayer experience is a calming peace of Jesus that can’t help but lull you to sleep. No pills needed.

You can read about his journey in that article. You can search the internet to see just how successful his company, Hallow App, has become, a testament to the idea’s effectiveness. But the important thing is to just get the app, the fruit of Jone’s spiritual journey born of a lot of research, trial and effort, and grace. Guided by experts in the Catholic Church, (including his bishop!), he built something for you that presents the riches of the Catholic Church’s ancient teachings on prayer and meditation/contemplation in such a way that it can help lead you to an intimate relationship with God.

This past October, a copycat app entered the market with a similar focus on Catholic meditation. Echoing Hallow’s format and navigation as well as its sleep-inducing content, the Amen App, comes to us from the highly-regarded Catholic faith formation enterprise, Augustine Institute. We’ll take a look at both apps.

Hallow Free download with access to a bunch of exquisite content. Subscription necessary to open access to full content–monthly $8.99; annually $69.99 Apple | GooglePlay

Developers say this is globally “the #1 Catholic prayer and meditation app.” It is so much more than that statement implies.

When is the last time you learned a new way of praying? It’s time to turn to prayer with intention. This serene, guided meditation app is all about you and your soul entering a blissful, meditative audio environment to help you pray. The goal? To slide you into a meaningful dialogue with God so you can nurture your relationship with him. The enormous catalog of content (prayer, meditations, scripture, reflections, bedtime Bible stories, etc.), utilizes peaceful, calming audio to stir your soul–from the velvety voices reading to you, to the soothing music/sounds in a variety of genres. Step by step, you will be led into prayerful, tranquil meditation like you may never have experienced in your life.

On the free side of this app you get

  • meditations on the Daily Gospel (updated every day)
  • audio Rosary
  • the pandemic “Stuck at home” praylist
  • Spiritual Communion
  • Chaplet of Divine Mercy
  • Examen (examination of conscience/preparation for confession)
  • Spiritual Writing
  • Christian Meditation sessions
  • 14-day free trial of full version of the app

Each of these offerings comes with a choice of two voices as your guide, three length options, nine background music selections, a journal, prayer reminder options, goal setting and tracking. You also have access to all of the Guest Sessions, and Minute Meditation sessions. The free side also generously includes the Bible in a Year with Fr. Mike Schmitz.

To unlock the full version of this app to access all its content, you must subscribe (monthly $8.99; annually $69.99). Before you squawk at the price (which I sure did at first!), please consider what you pay for streaming media subscriptions. Content in THIS app can help save your soul (Can you say that about Hulu or Netflix?) because it’s focused on one thing: to help get you in a mindset to talk to God. That relationship is the most important relationship in your life. And if you are a nominal Catholic routinely going through the motions of your faith, begrudgingly going to Sunday Mass when prodded or not giving God much thought, it’s time to grow up, spiritually speaking. Let’s be honest. Hallow is so jam-packed with content (packaged in tasteful, minimalist design), it takes eight full minutes to run through everything this amazing app offers (complete with celebrities), as this video demonstrates:

English/Spanish (limited).

BUTTON-appStoreBUTTON-Google play


Amen App (Free) Apple | Android  by Augustine Institute

The Augustine Institute has been a distinguished leader in producing/publishing faithful Catholic catechetical materials in a variety of media formats for a number of years. Led by Dr. Timothy Gray, their impressive catalogue of resources unlocks for public consumption the rich array of Catholic thought and spirituality to help fuel the New Evangelization led by laity. You might be familiar with the Institute’s Lighthouse Catholic Media rack in the back of your church, or their amazing internet-based resource portal, Formed–which gathers together the best of Catholic entertainment, formation resources, educational series and more. Now, the Augustine Institute offers an app that utilizes much of the Institute’s content, but centered around one specific theme: To help you encounter God through meditative prayer from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep.

Amen App joins Hallow in this category of apps based in a soothing meditative experience in prayer, complete with a variety of sleep aids designed to calm your mind and body. Like Hallow, Amen App is based primarily in audio format, so you can pray/meditate with your eyes closed. This includes audio meditations and bedtime stories read to you in a soothing delivery by a trained voice actor on a variety of topics with a selection of background music or sound effect options.

Amen App also comes packed with other valuable Catholic audio/text resources to help inspire “your daily conversation with God through faithful Christian meditation, nourishing Scriptures and relaxing sleep sounds,” according to developers. Among resources, you get audio/text versions of:

  • Daily Mass readings and audio reflections
  • Meditations/reflections on a variety of topics by top Catholic theologians and speakers (like Chris Stefanick and Dr. Tim Gray).
  • Stories for children including Bible stories and the popular Brother Francis cartoon (just the audio, no video, unfortunately)
  • Catholic devotions including a variety of audio rosaries
  • Truth & Life Audio Bible: Enter into a fully dramatized reading of a new book from the New Testament each month.
  • Read-the-Bible-in-a-year audio program
  • Sermons by saints and Fathers of the Church
  • Morning and Evening psalms/prayers
  • Season-specific resources targeting Lent, Easter, Advent and Christmas
  • Journal

Options include the ability to download resources for use offline and Spanish language.

Check out Amen App’s video tutorial to discover all this beautiful app offers:

 

BUTTON-appStoreBUTTON-Google play

However much Amen follows Hallow’s lead, it falls short of the Hallow App in some key areas:

  • the sheer volume of resources compared to Hallow app which boasts of more than 1,000 files in its repertoire. We notice, for example, Hallow offers more children’s content, a larger selection of music and features like novenas, and tracks for preparation for confession. Amen’s content, nonetheless, is exceptional and would take you quite a while to exhaust it. Both apps continually add content, so they both become more valuable over time. 
  • the quality of Hallow’s voice recordings are superior. Amen App’s audio consists of a mix bag of audio captured in a variety of sound settings compared to Hallow’s professional tracks. While the important meditative offerings are recorded by a trained voice actor in Amen App, here and there other readings are not. You will not be able to choose voices of readers either as you can in Hallow, nor will you be treated to “celebrity” voices featured in Hallow (Jonathan Roomie, Bishop Barron, Dr. Scott Hahn, Fr. Mike Schmitz, Jim Caviezel).

But look, you pay for that level of content, customization and professional audio you get in Hallow. Amen is truly a worthy contender, especially when you compare Hallow’s free content next to Amen’s total package which completely free.

Both are exquisite apps with the same goal in mind.

 

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Categories: Blog for Catholic Apptitude

Author:Jennifer Kane

Content Evangelist, Jennifer Kane, is a secular Carmelite (OCDS), wife, mother, grandmother who worked for more than 30 years in marketing/communications which included 20 years in radio broadcasting including news director. She holds degrees in Journalism/Communication (BA) and English (MA) from St. Bonaventure University. In 2016 she authored the Vatican application for minor basilica status for The Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels in Olean, New York. Pope Francis granted that title in 2017. Research on the basilica formed the basis of her history book, A Place Set Apart. She previously authored the book, A Worthy and Capable Clergyman, the second part of the history book in a slightly different format. She is founder and editor of the website, CatholicAPPtitude.org, the #1 English language website cataloging/reviewing Catholic apps for mobile devices.

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