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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

Marriage: The Real Presence

by Dr. Tom Neal . November 19, 2018 . 0 Comments

I’m searching for a sign,been looking way too high.Heart in the trenches,head in the heavens (BØRNS) Authentic married love is caught up into divine love and is governed and enriched by Christ’s red...

Do Not Be Overcome by Evil, But Overcome Evil with Good

by Dr. Tom Neal . October 23, 2018 . 0 Comments

The quality of mercy is not strained.It droppeth as the gentle rain from heavenUpon the place beneath. It is twice blest:It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomesTh...

Broken Signpost

by Dr. Tom Neal . October 03, 2018 . 0 Comments

The stories of conquest conclude with Israel, the people of promise, finally in the land, embattled and rebellious but installed, a broken signpost still shakily pointing forwards to the Creator’s purpose to resc...

Wonder-Filled Saints

by Dr. Tom Neal . September 11, 2018 . 1 Comments

One of my favorite quotes in all literature: In wonder all philosophy began: in wonder it ends….But the first wonder is the offspring of ignorance; the last is the parent of adoration.(Plato) Wonder, that po...

Alone with...Our Father

by Dr. Tom Neal . August 24, 2018 . 0 Comments

There are those who think, based on a one-sided spirituality, that prayer should be unalloyed contemplation of God, free of all distraction, as if the names and faces of others were somehow an intrusion to be avoided. ...