We're not Catholic, but each year on Ash Wednesday, our family walks up the hill and around the corner to the Catholic church in our neighborhood to attend their afternoon worship service for schoolchildren. Since becoming a spiritual mentor for children, I have come to realize how important rituals and symbols are to them. Having a cross drawn with ash on their foreheads signals to my children that a special time of year has begun. A time that has a very serious side to it, but one that potentially ends with great joy.
Blessings on your Lenten journey, however you choose to begin it!