The Catholic church is making moves to disinter clergymen buried at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Christchurch, which is up for a huge rebuild.

A notice of an application to disinter four bishops and a priest has been published in a local newspaper - which also calls for any living descendants of the men to come forward.

The five are Father Laurentine Maria Ginaty, who died on June 4, 1911, Bishop John Joseph Grimes, who died on March 15, 1915, Bishop Matthew Joseph Brodie, who died on October 11, 1943, Bishop Edward Michael Joyce, who died on January 28, 1964 and Bishop John Jerome Cunneen, who died on November 9, 2010.

"Take notice that any person who is a surviving next of kin of the above named is entitled to be consulted on the disinterment," the notice reads.

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It says that the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch knows of no surviving next of kin for Father Ginaty, Bishop Grimes, Bishop Brodie nor Bishop Joyce.

"But it must use its best endeavours to ensure that any such person is consulted," it says.

The Diocese's move to apply for disinterment comes as the cathedral on Barbadoes St is to be demolished.

The decision for the cathedral - almost 120 years old - to be demolished was finalised last year after it was badly damaged in earthquakes in 2010 and the major quake in February, 2011.

Bishop who dreamed of the cathedral more than 100 years ago among affected

Among the clergymen affected is the man who was instrumental in building the cathedral in the first place.

Bishop Grimes, appointed as the first Catholic bishop of Christchurch in 1887, received support from the Pope for the project after returning from a trip to Rome in 1899.

The cathedral foundation stone was put down in February 1901. The church officially opened in February 1905 and was regarded as one of the finest in Australasia.

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The application to disinter the men is due to be lodged on Friday, August 14.

Anyone who is related to the clergymen who the Diocese has not been able to contact is encouraged to get in touch with the Diocese on (03) 366 9869 or bishops-pa@chch.catholic.org.nz.