A Waihi priest is condemning thefts from St Joseph's Catholic Church.

Several items, including a metal cross, two candles and two vases, were stolen a couple of weeks ago.

St Joseph's priest Father Aidan Mulholland said the church was open all day for people to come and pray and would always remain so.

"In some areas or traditions, the churches are open only at a certain time, but not us."


Father Aidan said it was not the first time the church had been burgled.

"Since I have been here we have been broken into two times and from what I have heard from my predecessor, it had happened three times before that," he said.

In one of the previous burglaries, thieves forced open the church's storeroom and stole computer equipment.

"Some people have lost the sense of the sacred and what is appropriate ... They've lost the sense of 'me' being part of something larger than themselves.

"Cemeteries and churches are sacred grounds but people are not respecting these places," he said.

The church did not report the thefts to the police but hoped publicity will raise awareness within the community.