Farewell from Dr. Tom Neal

Dr. Tom Neal, Professor of Spiritual Theology at Notre Dame Seminary, has accepted a position as Director of Evangelization and Mission Engagement in the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee in Florida. We are grateful for Dr. Neal’s 11 years of service to Notre Dame Seminary! Fr. Josh Rodrigue, Rector/President, commented, “the Church has benefitted from Dr. Neal’s work in both the seminary and lay programs through the priests, deacons, teachers, catechists, and other laity whom he has helped educate and form. We offer our prayers for him and his family as they prepare for a transition. We will miss his presence and invaluable contribution in helping to make our seminary such a prominent place of priestly formation!”


“Farewell” Letter from Dr. Tom Neal:

“It’s been eleven years, which is so hard to believe. I remember so well flying down to New Orleans in December of 2011 to interview for a faculty position at Notre Dame Seminary, as professor of spiritual theology. Dr. Chris Baglow, whom I had met four years before while interviewing for a faculty position at (then) Holy Cross College, had recommended me to Fr. Lavastida for this new position at NDS and invited me to apply. I did. And here I am.

How grateful I, my wife Patti and our four children are for that recommendation. What an amazing and vibrant community of faith, family and culture abides in Louisiana! Our children were blessed by New Orleans Catholic schools: St. Clement of Rome, Mount Carmel Academy, Rummel, and by Louisiana universities: Loyola, UNO, and LA Tech. My wife has loved working as music director at St. James Major in Gentilly and at St. Philip Neri in Metairie. We have cherished being parishioners at St. Clement of Rome and worshipping at St Philip. How many incredible friends and acquaintances we have made here.

And then there is my work at NDS these years. The faculty, staff, and administration – what remarkable people I have met, learned from, and collaborated with! We are a community of wildly different people all bound by a common faith, respect, and commitment to our mission of forming holy priests and laity to serve Jesus and his Church locally, nationally, and throughout the world. What an enormous privilege! I wish I could name each person I have worked with and honor them specifically!

The seminarians, my brothers. How I have loved so many of these men, and been blessed by their witness, wisdom, humor, humility, faith, love, joy, hard work, friendship, and passionate desire to serve Christ and his People. I have been a teacher and administrator to serve them, but more often than not, I have received from them far more than I ever gave. I mean that most sincerely. And those I’ve been able to continue a relationship with after ordination has been an additional gift. In addition, let me add that my family has also been enriched by knowing so many of the seminarians and alumni of NDS.

And then there’s my work in the lay programs at NDS – my own “crown jewel.” Dedication to the vocation and mission of the laity is my personal core mission as a servant of the Church. Knowing and serving these men and women who have come to NDS for formation has forever changed me, for the better.

And now I am going to work in Pensacola, Florida to work for the diocese as director of evangelization and mission engagement. Collaborating with clergy, religious, and laity in helping the local Church grow as salt, light, and leaven in the world. It’s the diocese where my wife and I met, married and had all our children – so it’s a homecoming of sorts for us. We will miss NOLA and NDS immensely, but will be close, and wish always to be a part of this beautiful community. Thank you and God bless you!”