An English priest out shopping two days after Christmas, died in a supermarket car park, but his body was not discovered for three days.
Fr Joseph Williams (42), who served in Northamptonshire,
Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire, died suddenly in the car park of
Morrison’s supermarket in Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire on 27 December.
In a statement on the website of the diocese of Northampton, Bishop
Peter Doyle said it was believed the priest had died of natural causes.
It is believed that the priest was slumped over his car wheel in the
car park for three days before he was discovered on Monday last.
“I think it makes people feel guilty that we didn’t look or that we didn’t find him,” said Bishop Doyle.
“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.”
Police were called to the car park at Morrison’s supermarket on
Monday, when the discovery was made.
Fr Williams had been missing for
Bishop of Northampton Peter Doyle officially announced the news “with
much sadness” in a statement on the diocesan website. He said that
although there had to be a post mortem, “it would seem that he died of
On New Year’s Eve, shocked friends and parishioners gathered in Fr
Joseph’s parish of St Martin de Porres in Luton to celebrate mass for Fr
Fr Joseph was ordained priest on 1st July 2000 and served as an
assistant priest in Burnham and Kettering before moving to Biggleswade
as Parish Administrator in 2006.
From 2008 to 2011 he was Parish Priest of Our Lady of Lourdes, Milton
Keynes and then Parish Priest of St Martin de Porres, Luton.
In his statement, Bishop Doyle asked people to “pray for the repose
of Joe’s soul, for his family and for his parish. May he rest in peace.”
In his last parish bulletin of 2013 for St Martin de Porres, Fr
Joseph had warmly thanked the parishioners who had prepared the church
for the Christmas masses, and those who had assisted in various ways
with the Masses over Christmas.
“Thank you also for all the support shown during the year,” he wrote.
He also used the newsletter to thank all those who had sent cards and
gave him gifts at Christmas.
“Thank you also for the generous Christmas
Offering,” he added.
Morrison’s supermarket is supporting police with their inquiries and a report is being prepared for the coroner.