A man found dead in his car outside a supermarket was the former priest at the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes in Milton Keynes.
Father Joseph Williams, 42, served as parish priest at the church in Coffee Hall from 2008 before moving to St Martin de Porres, Luton, in 2011.
His body was found in his car at Morrisons’ car park in Houghton Regis on Monday, January 30. It’s believed it had been for three days.
A spokesman for Bedfordshire Police said the priest’s body had been in the car “for some time”. Father Williams is thought to have died of “natural causes”.
Writing on the Diocese of Northampton website, the Bishop of Northampton, the Right Reverend Peter Doyle, said: “It is with much sadness that I write to let you know that Father Joseph Williams died suddenly while out shopping on Friday, 27th December.
“Although there has to be a post-mortem, it would seem that he died of natural causes. Please pray for the repose of Joe’s soul, for his family and for his parish. May he rest in peace.”
Ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 2000, Father Williams served in Burnham and Kettering before moving to Biggleswade in 2006 and then to Milton Keynes in 2008.
A Mass has been celebrated in his memory at St Martin de Porres.
Bishop Doyle added: “I think it makes people feel guilty that we didn’t look or that we didn’t find him, but it was unavoidable and it’s just one of those things.
“Our faith tells us that the Lord’s taken him unto himself and we believe that he’s sharing the fullness of life in heaven so we’ve got that hope in our hearts to help us in our sadness.”
The death has been referred to the coroner.
Morrisons said its staff were “supporting police with their inquiries”.