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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

God Loves Me More … For You

by Dr. Tom Neal . November 20, 2017 . 1 Comments

“All you can take with you is that which you give away.” That quote, which appears in a scene of the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, captures the economy of God’s Kingdom. While it most cer...

Cutting to the Spiritual Core

by Dr. Tom Neal . November 07, 2017 . 3 Comments

A few years ago, I had the amazing privilege of interviewing Nigerian Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (whew), while I was serving as ...

Dear God, I Give You All, Willingly

by Dr. Tom Neal . October 26, 2017 . 1 Comments

“Dear God, I give you all, willingly. But I don’t know how to give, I just let them take. The best is to remain quiet. Because though I may not know how to give, you know how to take. Yet I would have wishe...

How Padre Pio Wants You to Spend Your Time

by Dr. Tom Neal . September 22, 2017 . 0 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...