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holy rosary limbahauHoly Rosary Limbahau  is located about 4 km from Papar town and 45 km from Kota Kinabalu. On its left runs the Papar River while on the right is the vast padi field and local houses along the old Papar road. Down the hill is the St Mary’s Kindergarten, Primary and Secondary Schools.

The strategic Limbahau Hill  prompted Fr Bernard Kurz, a Tyrolese from Austria in the year 1887 to buy part of Himbaau hill at the cost of $21 from four families –  the families of Japala,  Saazo, Matujal Malim and Kundaya @Lucas Adam. He then built a house and the first church on top of the hill in 1888 and named the church “Mary Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Limbahau.”  At the same time, he also introduced the formal education system using the church premise.

Fr Bernard Kurz had mastered the Kadazan Papar dialect so he was able to communicate with the locals and was beloved by them. He continued the mission first established by Fr Pundleider.

A second bigger church was built to accommodate the growing church. The Baptismal Register Book of Limbahau (1889 – 1945)  recorded 120 baptisms, the first being Banaik Sindurang @ Joseph.

Fr Kurz  was at times assisted by Fr  Dibona.  Fr Kurz died on 1 Sept 1895 when he was 43 years old.  He was buried at Limbahau Hill.

Fr Aloysius Louis Goossens (1888 – 1935) from Holland  assisted Fr Kurz in Limbahau in 1888.  After Fr Kurz’s death,  he took over and brought changes in terms of infrastructures.  He also put the parish on a strong financial standing.

In 1898, Fr Goossens established the St Aloysius Convent with four “white sisters” :  Sisters Dominic, Sister Gerarda, Sister Bernarda and Sister Bonaventure.

With the growing numbers of baptised Catholics, the second church was demolished to make way for the third church.   A multipurpose two- storey building was built to house the rector’s residence and office on the first floor and the school and hostel on the ground floor.

In 1923,  St Mary’s School was established with three teachers assisting the priest, namely, Mr Alexander Rowan, Mr Athanasius Anggang and Mr Anselmus Aman Sham.

Fr Goosens bought several lands from the locals including 100 acres in Purak on which the Holy Family Residence, Pace Bene, and the Franciscan Novitiate are currently sited.  He served Limbahau parish for 48 years.  He died when he was 80  on 14 August 1935 and was buried at HRL hill.

Fr. Goossens  initiated the first Kadazan Papar dictionary – the Tanggaa Papar – which he published in 1924.  It had served as a reference for those priests who came after him.

The present Holy Rosary Church was built in 1979 by Fr Aloysius Tung (1973-1980) at the cost of RM500,000.00 with financial assistance from the Berjaya Government. The blessing the new church was officiated by Bishop Simon Fung and declared opened by the then Assistant Chief Minister, Datuk James Ongkili on 12 July 1980.

The memorial plaque of 1989 of the missionaries buried in Limbahau
The memorial plaque of 1989 of the missionaries buried in Limbahau

Since the landslips in 2010 and 2012, the parish has done a good job in beautifying the church and its environs. The hill had been flattened to make way for the grotto and memorial ground (where the graves of the early missionaries are located), the canteen, the Fr Augustine Amandus Hall and a spa. The graves of the early missionaries have been relocated to a permanent memorial site.- In search of Simon [Sindurang Bulakang]: a pioneer defender of Kadazan rights in colonial North Borneo.

  • Designated as one of the four Holy Doors during the Jubilee Year of Mercy (8 Dec 2015-20 Nov 2016).




Jalan Lama, P.O. Box 9,
89607 Papar
Tel: 088-913773
Fax: 088-915054

Parish Priest: Msgr Nicholas Stephen (01.10.2022 –
Asst Parish Priest: Fr Joshua Liew (01.10.2022 -)
Asst Parish Priest: Fr. Lasius Gantis (01.10.2022-)
PPC Chairperson: Sylvester Joseph (2023-2026)
Ivy Anthony (2023-2026)

Mass available:
Sun: 8:00am (KD)

14 Outstation Chapels
St Patrick Kinuta
St Nicholas Molausi
St Sabina Titimboungan
St Samuel Kawasi
St Stephen Kayau
St Teresa of Avila Kogopon
St Theresa of the Child Jesus Sabandil
St Monica Moindang
St Linus Lingan
St Dominic Savio Mandalipau (11.6.2016)
St Anthony Bolotikon
St Agnes Kambizaan
St Aloysius Limputong
Sacred Heart Biau

Mother Aloysius Malaim fsic (professed 1941)+
Mother Joseph Malikam (professed 1950)+
Mother Bernadette Amandus fsic (professed 1951)
Sr Regina Majakil fsic (professed 1957)
Sr Philomena Valentine (professed 1962)+
Fr Augustine Amandus (ordained 1966)
Sr Genevieve Nicholas fsic (professed 1972)
Sr Emily William Tangah fsic (professed 1974)
Fr Alexander Emmanuel Sipanul (ordained 1976)
Sr Rosario Joseph fsic (professed 1983)
Fr Ambrose Michael Atang (ordained 1989)
Sr Rose Ginibun fsic (professed 2001)

Pastors Past and Present
Fr Daniel Kilty
Fr Pundleider
Fr Alexander Prenger
Fr Bernard Kurz
Fr Dibona
Fr Aloysius Losius Goossens
Fr A Willems
Fr J Staal
Fr  A Verhoeven
Fr P Groot
Fr J Oss
Fr. Joseph J. Bohm
Fr Marcus Obertigger
Fr Francis Flur
Fr Anthony Raich
Fr W Theurl
Fr Sythes
Fr Mcmanus
Fr W Smit
Fr SL Terpstra
Fr W Roetenberg
Fr Dominic Bekema
Fr Joseph Dapoz
Fr John L Quinn
Fr Gerard Preyde
Fr Joseph Hiu
Fr Van Der Geest
Fr Van Mclindon
Fr Florian Judd
Fr Francis Frerichs
Fr W Vander Gestel
Fr Giggenbacher
Fr Jan van Velzen
Fr Peter De Wit
Fr John Rooney
Fr John Goehart
Fr Peter McDonald
Fr Aloysius Tung (1973-1980)
Fr Alexander Induku
Fr Thomas Makajil
Fr Augustine Amandus
Msgr Primus Jouil
Fr Ambrose M Atang
Fr Bruno Andau Yasun
Fr Marcelinus Pongking
Fr Tony Mojiwat
Fr Johnny Raju
Fr Aloysius Fidelis
Fr Alex Jimsy Julius
Fr Thomas Yip (1.10.2014 – 01.10.2022)
Fr Jalius J Sading (2014-2016)
Fr Thomas Madanan (1.6.2016 – 8.7.2017)
Fr Rayner Bisius (9.7.2017 – 01.10.2022)
Msgr Nicholas Stephen (01.10.2022 -)
Fr Joshua Liew (01.10.2022 -)
Fr. Lasius Gantis (01.10.2022-)

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