These are the skulls of monks from Mount Athos Monastery. The middle skull reads: "You shall also become as I am" as a reminder to the monks that their earthly life is very short. It's something to ponder on this Mardi Gras as Ash Wednesday approaches. If we are able to receive ashes tomorrow, the priest will remind us that "you are dust, and unto dust you shall return." Eternity is what matters, even though it is often difficult to comprehend this truth during the activities of our busy lives. Thankfully, Holy Mother Church reminds us of our mortality in a dramatic way on Ash Wednesday and offers us a chance to change our lives with the Sacrament of Penance.
Many parishes offer Confession frequently during Lent. Look up the schedules online. Look for Penance services where sometimes 10 or more priests will be hearing confessions in the same parish. Be sure to take advantage of the opportunity, especially if you haven't been in a while!