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Dr. Tom Neal

Academic Dean and Professor of Spiritual Theology, Notre Dame Seminary, New Orleans, LA

Dr. Tom Neal presently serves as Academic Dean and Professor of Spiritual Theology at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana and has a particular passion for exposing the unlimited potential of theology to offer the faithful a deeper sharing in the mind and heart of Jesus Christ. He has worked for twenty years in adult catechesis, retreat ministry and teaching theology in various contexts trying to make present for others the "Word made fresh." Tom received a Masters in Systematic Theology from Mount St. Mary's University and a PhD in Religion at Florida State University. His Masters studies focused on the Orthodox theology of salvation known as theosis, and his doctoral studies concentrated on the socio-historical contexts within which late medieval mysticism flourished in Spain. His dissertation was on the Teresian Carmelite reform and the construction of ascetical identity in the writings of St. John of the Cross.

While he loves to continue his work on general topics of spiritual theology, especially inasmuch as they relate to priestly formation, Tom has dedicated much of his energy more recently to theological reflection on the vocation and mission of the lay faithful to be "secular saints" whose essential labor is to consecrate the world itself to God by faithfully living out their personal vocations in the world. He believes that the Church has yet to produce a proper theology of "lay secularity" and, consequently, a robust vision of spirituality that is suited to those whose primary path to perfection is to be found in engaging in temporal, secular affairs. His hope is to make a small contribution to that development.

Originally from Rhode Island, Tom has lived over the years in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, Florida, Iowa and (presently) New Orleans, Louisiana. His wife and four children live in Metairie, LA and they love being called to be saints among Saints.

Find more of Tom's writing at his blog, Neal Obstat.


Dr. Tom Neal Latest Blog Posts

Daft Punk Sabbath

by Dr. Tom Neal . May 19, 2017 . 1 Comments

Jews gave the world a day of rest. No ancient society before the Jews had a day of rest. Those who live without such a septimanal punctuation are emptier and less resourceful. Those people who work seven days a week, e...

Workers of the World, Unite!

by Dr. Tom Neal . May 01, 2017 . 1 Comments

Today’s Feast of St. Joseph the Worker was instituted in 1955 by Pope Pius XII as a Catholic liturgical response to the Communist version of the May Day celebration. But, celebrating work seems a bit oxymoroni...

Advertising Asceticism

by Dr. Tom Neal . March 29, 2017 . 0 Comments

Asceticism has its etymological roots in the Greek word askesis, which, in its pre-Christian form, referred to a variety of disciplines that served to cultivate intellectual, moral, spiritual and even athletic excel...

Letting Christ Love me, Unpleasantly

by Dr. Tom Neal . March 13, 2017 . 0 Comments

Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.” — John 13:8 I heard a homily the other day in which the prea...

If You Can't See God's Will in the Present, You'll Never Find It in the Future

by Dr. Tom Neal . March 10, 2017 . 3 Comments

Nothing will shake a man—or at any rate a man like me—out of his merely verbal thinking and his merely notional beliefs. He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. Only great hardship will br...