Kudat lies on the northern tip of Borneo Island, 190 km north of Kota Kinabalu. It serves as the administrative center for the Kudat division which includes the towns in Kudat—Pitas, Kota Marudu, as well as some offshore islands. Kudat is inhabited mainly by the Rungus ethnic people—a sub-group of the indigenous Kadazan native.
The town was founded by AH Everett of the British North Borneo Company on 7 December 1881 to be the first capital of British North Borneo due to its strategic geographic location. Kudat is famous for its Rungus longhouses, traditional gong-making villages, and the Tanjung Simpang Mengayau—the northernmost point on the island of Borneo, better known as the Tip of Borneo.
In the early annals of the Catholic Church in north Borneo, Kudat was already described as an outstation of Sandakan as far back as 1900. In the early century, there were very few priests and Kudat was very hard to reach.
But in 1920, Fr Stotter, rector of Sandakan, made serious business of Kudat as an outstation. He made 207 baptisms in Kudat in the next 10 years.
In 1922, the old mission site, at the Mission Road was bought for $1000.00.
In 1925, Fr Stotter erected a large barn like building here, with a large room down below, which served as a room for the visiting priests. This was the beginning of St. Peter’s School.
In 1931, Fr Sint became the first resident priest of Kudat. He got an assistant priest named, Fr McCarthy.
In 1934 the old church was built. Fr Sint remained in Kudat until 1937 when Fr Henry Murphy succeeded him. Fr Murphy worked so hard that he had to leave Borneo in 1939, a broken man.
During Japanese Occupation, the Japanese captured the priests working in Kudat namely Fr Theurl and Fr Grent. In August 1945, Fr Theurl was killed by the Japanese, together with Msgr Wachter and the other Austrian priests and brother. Kudat Church was used as a prison by the Japanese then.
In its history, Kudat has been served by many priests, including Fr Schoor, Fr J Hill, Fr John Baptist Yong, Fr Simon Fung, Fr JohnTsung, Fr Peter Ma, Fr Hurley, Fr Louis J Purcell, Fr Louis Kessel , Fr. J Heuschen and Fr Nicholas Ong. Fr Thomas Sham served Kudat for 13 years (1950 -1963).
Fr Sham was quite a builder: he built the new rectory in 1958 , the Twin Towers in 1959, the grotto and the Sacred Heart Church in Tajau in I960. He also extended the schools both in Tajau and Taipa. His keen business mind enabled him to purchase 11 acres of land at Tanjung Kapor, which is the present site of all schools, the rectory, the convent, St Peter’s Church, teachers’ quarters, Fr de Wit Memorial Hall and St Peter’s Kindergarten. Besides that, Fr Sham also ran huge fun-fairs to raise money.
The priest who was responsible for the handsome and solid fencing around the mission was Fr John Baptist Yong.
In 1973, Fr Van Hasselt built a new church, Our Lady Immaculate in Taipa.
In 1981, Fr de Wit became the rector of the parish church of Kudat. He built the new St Peter’s Church in 1981 and the new convent in 1982. He also beautified the Kudat Church with a complete set of new benches and a new altar, completed with a beautifully carved tabernacle from Hong Kong and a huge Irish Cross. He also built the new bell tower. 28 August 1983 was the saddest day in Kudat Parish when Fr de Wit was brutally murdered. The next priest was Fr Felix Chung who made fortnightly visits to Kudat.
After him were Fr Jan van der Salm, Fr Cosmas Lee, Fr Charles Chiew, Fr David Sham, Fr Martin Wong and Fr Francis Tsen. Fr Tobias Chi came in November 1999. In the Great Jubilee Year 2000, a lot of activities were carried out such as the celebration of Sts Peter and Paul’s feastday in July, where there was an exhibition of church history and parish activities. All the Catholic schools in Kudat also exhibited their histories and activities. – Agatha Lai
The first church was built in 1934, the second in 1958 and the present church was blessed by Bishop Simon Fung on 2 Dec 1981. The rectory underwent five constructions: the first in 1925 (Fr Stotter), the second in 1936 (Br Alexander), the third in 1958 (Fr Thomas Sham), the fourth in 1981 (Fr de Wit) and the present one in 1994 (Fr Martin Wong). The first convent (FSIC) was built in 1977 and rebuilt in 1982.
- Designated as one of the four Holy Doors during the Jubilee Year of Mercy (8 Dec 2015-20 Nov 2016).
website: st peter kudat
Jalan Tanjung Kapur,
P.O. Box 26,
89057 Kudat Sabah
Parish Priest: Fr Jalius Sading
Asst Parish Priest: Fr Jack Sigam
PCC Chairperson: Mr Simon Lai
Sat: 6:00pm (EN)
Sun: 8:00am (BM/CH)
Fr Paul Lo Chee Khong (ordained 2005)
Sr Bridget Lo Chi Yong fsic (first profession 1961)
Sacred Heart Tajau 1960, rebuilt 1990
Our Lady Immaculate Taipa 1973, rebuilt 1990
Pastors Past & Present
Fr A Stotter mhm 1921-1929
Fr Sint, Fr Felix Shek, Msgr Wachter 1929
Fr Francis Xavier Sint mhm 1930-1937
Fr McCarthy mhm 1932-1934
Fr Murphy mhm 1935, 1937-1939
Fr Klijn mhm 1936
Fr Theurl mhm 1937-1942
Fr Obertegger mhm 1939
Fr A Grent mhm 1939-1942, 1945, 1956
Fr Paulmichl mhm 1942-1944
Fr Schoor mhm 1946-1948
Fr Joseph Hiu 1946-1948
Fr Walsh mhm 1948-1949
Fr John Baptist Yong 1948-1949, 1951-1954, 1957-1958
Fr Galvin mhm 1949
Fr Dominic Bekema mhm 1949-1951
Fr Thomas Sham 1950-1952, 1958-1968, 1986-1987
Fr Peter de Wit mhm 1952-1954, 1961, 1980-1983
Fr Rainer mhm 1953-1955
Fr Denicolo mhm 1954-1956
Fr Tobias Chi 1954-1956, 1979, 2000-2005
Fr John Tsung 1956-1957, 1976-1979
Fr Peter Ma 1957-1958
Fr Hurley mhm 1958
Fr Tysen mhm 1959-1961
Fr Heuschen mhm 1962-1965
Fr Louis Purcell mhm 1964, 1969-1970
Fr Louis Kessels mhm 1964-1966, 1976, 1979
Fr Patrick Cahill mhm 1967-1968
Fr Simon Fung 1968-1970
Fr Felix Chung 1970–1971, 1973-1976, 1985-1986
Fr Van Hasselt mhm 1970-1973
Fr Cosmas Lee 1977, 1986
Fr Nicholas Ong 1978, 1987, 1995
Fr Philip Lai cssR 1979
Fr William Poilis 1979
Fr Jan vd Salm mhm 1983-1985
Fr Benjamin Basintal 1987
Fr Peter Abas 1987, 1991
Fr David Sham 1987-1988
Fr Martin Wong 1989-1990, 1993-1996
Fr Charles Chiew 1991-1992
Fr Thomas Yip 1995
Fr Francis Tsen 1997-1999
Fr Daniel Lim ocd 1997
Fr Joseph Fung sj 1998
Fr Edward Raymond 2006
Fr Federick Raymond 2014
Fr Jack Sigam 2014
Fr Jalius Sading 2016