A desperate plea for actor Mel Gibson to help restore a landmark burned-out Irish cathedral has been made by the local Bishop in Longford, Ireland.

St. Mel's Cathedral was burned to the ground in a mysterious fire on Christmas morning, and it will cost at least $12 million to rebuild. Local bishop Colm O'Reilly has turned to Gibson for help.

Mel Gibson's mother, Anne Reilly, hails from near the town of Longford, and the actor is named after Saint Mel, who came to Ireland with St. Patrick in the Fifth Century.

“It would be nice for him to get involved, it certainly would be appreciated,” the Bishop said.

“We’ve never had any contact with him up until now. His name of course, comes from here.

“Longford people would be positive about such a move. We’re all like a big bereaved family at this stage,” he added.

Gibson was born in upstate New York and lived there until he was 12. Then his family relocated to Australia where he was educated by Irish Christian brothers. He later returned to America to become a Hollywood star.

Gibson himself is a traditionalist Catholic, and one of his most controversial movies was "The Passion of the Christ" about the last days of Jesus Christ, filmed entirely in Hebrew, Latin and Aramaic.