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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

How Padre Pio Wants You to Spend Your Time

by Dr. Tom Neal . September 22, 2017 . 1 Comments

Tomorrow is the feast of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, affectionately known by all his devotees as Padre Pio. I have always loved Padre Pio, and was especially taken with him after reading C. Bernard Ruffin’...

Why Does God Exist?

by Dr. Tom Neal . September 13, 2017 . 8 Comments

My sons and I (my daughters I will discuss another time) often have bedtime chats about the Big Questions of life, which is a delight and a challenge. It’s a delight because they are fascinated by the meaning of li...

Speaking the Truth in Love

by Dr. Tom Neal . August 23, 2017 . 1 Comments

“Truth happens in the course of dialogue. There is always a temptation to allow our answers to bring to an end the process of searching, as if the topic of the conversation was a problem that has now been solved. B...

Faith Goes Public

by Dr. Tom Neal . August 10, 2017 . 0 Comments

I had a dogmatics professor back in 1993 who said in one of his lectures on St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae, “Theology is at heart dialogical, a divine-human exchange of ideas among both friends and...

“Listen carefully…and incline the ear of your heart” — Rule of St. Benedict

by Dr. Tom Neal . July 11, 2017 . 2 Comments

Someone I know took on as a penance this past Lent a wonderful practice (that, as ever, I got permission to mention here): going out of his way every day to speak to someone that he finds difficult, boring, irritating, u...