Moncton Bishop Andre Richard will meet with parishioners this week seeking ideas on how to spare the historic Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption Cathedral from the wrecking ball.

The church has not been able to find the $7 million it needs to keep the downtown cathedral open.

When the cathedral was opened it served roughly 1,500 families, now only 300 use it as their church regularly.

Donald Langis, the pastoral co-ordinator, said the cathedral cannot stay open with such a small number of parishioners so the bishop will meet with them on Monday and Wednesday.

"We have looked at the question under every conceivable angle. We are now at the point where we want to hear what the people from the diocese have to say," Langis said.

Langis said the church tried to launch a fundraising campaign.

But studies have shown a fundraising campaign would not raise anywhere near the $7 million needed just to keep the doors of the cathedral open, nor the additional $3 million for a trust fund that would pay for future repairs.

'Not looking for an emotional input'

Langis said this week's meetings will address that financial shortfall.

"We're not looking for an emotional input, we're looking for some concrete solutions. We want to know, how do we solve the problem," Langis said.

The cathedral is more than a house of worship for many Acadians in southeastern New Brunswick. It is also a cultural landmark, completed in the late 1930s, it's a symbol of the resilience of the community.

Langis said earlier meetings in Richibucto and Shediac have not been all that successful in finding answers to the cathedral's financial shortcomings.

He said those parishioners say their own churches need repairs and are short of money. Langis said parishioners want any extra money invested in repairing their churches before they try to save the cathedral.

"This is what we're hearing, ‘We have more important questions to solve before we do that, which are to keep our own parishes financially black if you wish and not pour our money into the cathedral and have nothing left for us,’" he said.