Keffiyeh from Jordan Has a Role in San Francisco during the Pandemic

Posted on Apr 11, 2020

by Father Paul Zirimenya, Pastor of St. Benedict Parish for the Deaf at St. Francis Xavier Churh in San Francisco, California

The sun was shining. Flowers were blossoming. Most people were out and about looking forward to enjoying the springtime. Then the coronavirus came knocking on our doors. On March 17, the City and County of San Francisco issued a shelter-in-place order.

Since the shelter-in-place order took effect, most of my colleagues began enjoying and appreciating the good things in life. As people of faith, we believe that every situation, even the most difficult, heart-breaking, or tragic, has an element of good in it.

Some of my days have been spent reminiscing about good times in my life — the joys of childhood, special occasions, all the fun and wonderful experiences with family or friends. I have been reading and re-reading letters and greeting cards from years ago — especially the ones from family members and other heartfelt thoughts and words from special people. I have been looking at old pictures — seeing images of people and places and events that meant so much to me: to recognize precisely the events and people that come my way in this life.



One of the events that meant so much to me was the Holy Land pilgrimage I made in November, 2012. I kept a collection of items that I was gifted in the Holy Land.

Then on Friday, April 03, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended “Cloth Face Coverings” in Public. When I was in Jordan our pilgrim guide gave us a Keffiyeh. Eight years later, this is exactly the perfect item I can use for my face covering — an evidence of God’s grace in the current pandemic that we are all facing. Our faith is stronger than our fear. We shall overcome!