Program on Church, State and Society names 2022 summer fellows

Author: Denise Wager

2022 Church State Society Fellows

The Notre Dame Law School Program on Church, State & Society has awarded four summer fellowships to John Hale, Anthony Imburgia, Rev. Matt Kuczora, C.S.C., and Martin Wolk. The fellowships include a stipend for law students to use to gain legal experience working with religiously affiliated organizations.

First-year student John Hale will complete his fellowship at the Archdiocese of Detroit. He will work with the outside counsel for the diocese to conduct legal research and write analysis on state civil law issues that are impacting the Church. 

“I was interested in applying for the Church, State & Society Fellowship because I am deeply interested in the proper relationship between Church and State, and the role that positive law ought to play in working toward the flourishing of each human person,” Hale said. 

“I also feel a strong sense of commitment to my hometown, so it is a gift to be able to help my local church while gaining valuable legal experience,” he said. “I hope to learn about how to use the law to foster authentic human freedom.”

Anthony Imburgia, a first-year student, was drawn to his fellowship at ImmacuLaw in Chicago because of its integration of finance and philanthropy. ImmacuLaw works with its sister company, Julius Capital, to provide creative financial solutions and legal expertise to foundations, schools, and Catholic dioceses across the country. 

“By making sophisticated financing structures available to nonprofits, ImmacuLaw changes the game for many schools and dioceses, making it possible for them to invest in new facilities and initiatives to pursue their mission. When I heard about the Church, State & Society fellowship, I figured this would be a perfect fit,” said Imburgia.

Rev. Matt Kuczora, C.S.C., a second-year student, will be doing his fellowship with Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley in Brownsville, Texas. His primary role will be to assist refugees in the Migrant Protection Protocols program, also known as “Remain in Mexico,” which requires asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while pursuing asylum in the United States. Every day, he will cross the border with U.S. attorneys to prepare individuals and families for their asylum hearings.   

“This fellowship was tailormade to facilitate work in an area that is not only a passion of mine, but also among the most urgent legal and humanitarian needs today,” said Kuczora. “The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops filed an amicus curiae brief before the Supreme Court arguing that the program is contrary to domestic and international law, as well as Catholic social teaching.”

As a Catholic priest in the Congregation of Holy Cross, Kuczora says the intersection of faith and action is where he feels most at home. “In addition, Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley’s director, Sr. Norma Pimentel, is someone I greatly admire for her ability to forge cooperation amidst deadlock, and does so through her faith which creates a deep love for the humanity of all those involved,” he said.
Second-year student Martin Wolk will do his fellowship at the Office of General Counsel for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C. He will work on a range of issues concerning the Catholic Church, including religious liberty issues. His role will include legal research and writing, reviewing proposed federal legislation, helping prepare comments on proposed federal rulemaking, and participating in inter-religious meetings.

“My faith and church are an important part of my life, and the ability to attend a Catholic law school has made a big difference for me. I want to give back and work to make these opportunities available for others. The Church, State & Society Fellowship matched my interests in this field and helped make my internship possible,” said Wolk. “Interning with the USCCB will increase my knowledge of religious liberty issues, as well as other legal issues that religious institutions face and is a great opportunity to do important and meaningful work.”

Richard Garnett, the Paul J. Schierl/Fort Howard Corp. Professor of Law, directs the Program on Church, State & Society. 

“Notre Dame Law School is pleased to assist students interested in learning more about the vital sector of religious-institutions law practice.  Thanks to generous benefactors, we are able to support the education and formation of our students, and contribute to civil society and religious freedom,” said Garnett.

The Program on Church, State & Society — in collaboration with the Law School’s larger Religious Liberty Initiative — organizes a variety of opportunities for students, including the fellowship program which seeks to educate young lawyers about the relationship between law and religion. Past placements for summer fellows have included the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Charities, the Catholic University of America, and the American Indian Catholic Schools Network, as well as archdiocese offices and churches in several cities.