SACRAMENTO -- The season of prayer and reflection before Easter celebrations starts Wednesday.
Ashes on the forehead symbolize Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for 40 days.
"Offer prayer and imposition of ashes to really start off Lent in a holy way," Trinity Cathedral Priest Megan Anderson said.
While many attend mass at Trinity Cathedral in Sacramento, others chose "Ashes to Go," a quick service geared for people on the go.
"I like to have her... get used to all this and be able to participate," Laura Greer said.
By "her" Greer meant Gracie, her 5-year-old dog, who has done this for the last three years.
"I have lots of friends who we come say a prayer for, who have maybe lost things or are going through a difficult time," Greer said.
"It's a beautiful exchange of our mutual humanity, and how life is short. And we should use it in the best way that we can," Priest Anderson said.
On Tuesday, the California Catholic Conference issued an Ash Wednesday statement, focusing specifically on immigration -- something President Donald Trump discussed in his first speech to Congress.
"We will soon begin the construction of a great, great wall along our Southern border," Trump said.
While California bishops support the federal government's obligation to protect American borders, they said in their statement:
"The current immigration system is gravely flawed. And because it is gravely flawed, the current push to increase enforcement and deportations — without first reforming the underlying system — can only lead to further violations of human rights and human dignity."
Local clergy members agree in a less exclusionary, more compassionate approach to immigration reform.
"I think that is a very worthy statement, and really holy work to examine the resources that have and to look to those most in need, and how we can reach out and help. And also partner with them in our shared pursuits."
A message of solidarity hoping the season brings more compassion and understanding.
The church opened four Ashes To Go stations in Downtown Sacramento.
- Outside Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 2620 Capitol Ave.
- Outside St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 1430 J St.
- At the Rapid Transit Stop at R & 29th St.
- At Caesar Chavez Park, 910 I St.