Parish life

International Women’s Day 2021—Kerry Mackrill ministering by “stealth and witness”

March 8, 2021
Photo by Daniel Hopper.

As we recognise and give thanks on International Women’s Day today for the amazing contribution women play in our lives—including those in leadership positions—we thought it fitting to feature one of our parishioners from St Anthony’s Catholic Parish in Picton/Tahmoor, learning about her role as a business owner, mother of three and dedicated parishioner—living “Christian ministry by stealth and witness”.

Kerry Mackrill, was born in South Africa to Scottish parents, and loved to cook and organise from an early age.

She met the love of her life, Richard, at 15 and they married five years later. The young couple spent the first seven years of their married life travelling, and then when it was time to settle down and raise a family, they settled in NSW. Now with three busy children and a staffy called “Blu”, Australia has truly become home.

Kerry worked in a variety of administrative roles over the years but felt that she had truly found her niche when she started working at a local catering business, PB Catering, in 2013. There, she was able to put her organisational skills to the test. In setting up programs, refining operations and formalising processes, the end goal was always to more systematically understand and consistently deliver exceptional service and client experience.

When the former owners decided to retire in 2017, they approached Kerry with an offer to “take over the reins”, and because of her key role in developing the company’s new structures—geared for future growth—it seemed a natural next step.

Since Kerry assumed ownership in February 2017, the PB team has worked tirelessly to build and expand the solid reputation of one of the Illawarra’s great catering companies.

Kerry resides in Wilton, in the Wollondilly region of our diocese and is a member of St Anthony’s Catholic Parish in Picton/Tahmoor. Her three children Abigail, Braeden and Cameron attend St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School at Picton.

Another natural next step

Kerry explains: “My brother-in-law had mentioned to Fr John Ho, the parish priest at the time, that I like to make order out of chaos, so the next thing I know, Fr John taps me on the arm and says, ‘So will you co-ordinate our parish fete?’ I hesitated and replied something like, ‘Well, I’m not sure? I’d really need to think about it’ (at this point I had two small children under five years of age). Fr John smiled and nodded. I couldn’t help myself, and shortly after I said, ‘Yes.’ This is also how Fr John enlisted my husband, myself and my youngest child to play Joseph, Mary and Jesus in our parish Christmas Vigil Mass in 2015. Fr John thought it was very kind of me to have a baby three weeks before Christmas!”

Kerry adds: “I am passionate about delivering service in my business. PB Catering primarily caters for weddings, and in our own small way, we help people celebrate what is one of the most important sacraments that we have been gifted and is so foundational to a healthy and holy family life and wider society. To be honest, we do not broadcast or preach our Catholic faith explicitly, but we build up a relationship with couples over a period of months as they prepare for their wedding and they do discover that this is what drives our ‘servant leadership’ ethos. In a sense we see it as a Christian ministry by stealth and witness.”

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