The Eucharistic minister brought ashes for Lolo yesterday which is Ash Wednesday, the start of the 40 days of penance and prayer.
Picture via Sense of Events blog. As David Warren notes, many Evangelical churches have returned to using the custom.
One blog post I read yesterday noted that the custom of ashes only goes back to the 8th century. The ashes on the forehead are a symbol of mourning and repentance, and a reminder that we too shall die: the minister/priest tells us: Remember man that thou art dust and into dust thou shalt return.