EASTER is upon us and what could be more symbolic than the news that Notre Dame will rise again from the ashes.

The fire that destroyed a major part of this 850-year-old cathedral was truly shocking.

Parisians kneeling and praying in the streets on Monday only added to the poignancy.

As I write, over £1 billion has already been raised to repair the cathedral.

Inevitably, there are some that say the money could be better spent elsewhere, but the Notre Dame is not just a great church.

Standing at the heart of Paris since the Dark Ages, it’s withstood earlier fires, the Revolution and countless wars.

And in 1944, those famous bells rang out to rejoice at the country’s liberation following D Day.

Like our own cathedrals, Notre Dame has been built and rebuilt over the ages by men using their hands and basic tools to the glory of God.

Not all the millions of tourists who visit this magnificent building are believers, but you can be sure they are all touched by its grandeur, beauty and significance.

Money from around the world continues to pour in, and if the world chooses to rebuild this symbolic link between man and God, who can disagree?

As Archbishop Sentamu said this week, we can rebuild the cathedral AND feed the hungry.

One does not exclude the other.

The donations will spare cash-strapped President Macron, already under duress after months of violent civil protests, the cost of repairing the state-owned cathedral.

But no one could miss the symbolism of the spire collapsing at the very moment he was due to address the nation over his proposals to the ‘gilets jaunes’.

It’s hoped Notre Dame will be restored in time for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Happy Easter to you all.