When a Pandemic Strikes the Vineyard: Searching for the Meaning of Pastoral Care During COVID-19

Hee Kyu Heidi Park, Eonkyeong Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A student asked, “What is pastoral care amid the COVID-19 pandemic?” The student and the professor embarked on a conversational journey to explore the layers of suffering during the pandemic that prompted the question and to interpret the neoliberal characteristics of the relational pains in the experience. Through the participatory case study of this conversation, this article puts the pandemic experience of the student in dialogue with the Matthean passage on the vineyard workers to expose the limits of the neoliberal rationality that feeds into the suffering during the pandemic. The ensuing theological reflection culminates in a conversation about the understanding of the Matthean evil eye, Emmanuel Levinas’s understanding of the face, and Bruce Roger-Vaughn’s concept of third-order suffering. The reflection concludes with an answer to the question about pastoral care during COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-152
Number of pages12
JournalPastoral Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by a 2020 Ewha Womans University Research grant. The two authors have no conflicts of interest. This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Bible
  • COVID-19
  • Evil eye
  • Face
  • Family
  • Hope
  • Levinas
  • Neoliberalism
  • Shame
  • Third-order suffering


Dive into the research topics of 'When a Pandemic Strikes the Vineyard: Searching for the Meaning of Pastoral Care During COVID-19'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this