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Fincher ’24: Discovering God’s Plan in the Gym

Luke Fincher ’24 had a plan coming into Wabash.

He was going to major in history and double minor in education and Spanish with the end goal of becoming a high school teacher. He spent his first few years on campus engaging in numerous conversations with professors who shared internship opportunities and advice about how to pursue a career in education.

“I always felt like the teachers I had growing up shaped me into the man I am today. I wanted to return the favor and be that person for the next generation,” the Logansport, Indiana, native said. “But God had other plans for me.”

Luke Fincher ’24 at the Newman Catholic Center

“He works in mysterious ways,” Fincher said, “and if this story doesn’t prove that He has a sense of humor, I don’t know what will.”

Everything was going accordingly until January 2023 when it hit Fincher.

 He had been going through a “gym-rat phase.” In between his classes and extracurricular commitments with Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI), Glee Club, and theater, he was spending a lot of time in the gym obsessing over how much stronger he had become and how different he looked compared to his freshman self.

“I went from this little, skinny kid to a bit more physically apt man,” he said. “My ego was definitely inflated.”

One day, Fincher came across a video of one of his favorite Catholic fitness influencers.

“He’s staring into the camera and says, ‘If you can bench your bodyweight, squat one-and-a-half times your bodyweight, deadlift twice your body weight, you’re just a beginner and you have nothing to be proud of,’” Fincher recalled. “‘Get stronger, nerd.’”

In most cases, Fincher said he would have brushed off those comments, but something was ignited in him.

“I was so angry because I had recently hit one of those goals,” Fincher said. “I’m not going to lie; I was in a pretty solid state of emotional distress.

“I feel like it was God’s grace to cause me to react the way I did,” he said. “I came out of that realizing I’m not the person I thought I was or the person I needed to be.”

Wanting to reconnect more closely with his faith, Fincher started a prayer routine. He surrounded himself with mentors and friends from Newman Catholic Center and St. Bernard’s Catholic Church and began participating in daily prayer where he would reflect on humility and how he could best “live out the Christian life.”

With that came research into priesthood.

“I realized I had been ignoring the question these past several years—what am I here to do—because I wanted to follow my own desires,” Fincher said. “Even though teaching is a good desire, the more and more I thought about it, the more I realized there was something else I was called to do.

“Somewhere in that process, I realized if I didn’t go to seminary, I would regret not having gone.”

Associate Professor of Educational Studies Michele Pittard describes Fincher as an “intelligent, deep thinker” and said he always showed up to her class with assignments done and an eagerness to participate in discussions with his peers.

“Luke is so genuine and refreshing in a lot of ways, and I just love that about him,” Pittard said. “He has a perspective that appreciates that everybody struggles and understands that work ethic and faith can get you through. I feel like anything he would come up against, those two things would continue to be his guide.

“I think he will be going into the priesthood with his heart and eyes wide open,” she said.

Alex Koers ’23 is Fincher’s pledge father and close friend. Outside of the fraternity, the two grew close as members of the Newman Catholic Center and have shared many philosophical conversations about life and religion.

In addition to his many campus involvements, Fincher was a four-year member of the Glee Club.

“I remember being shocked by his immediate willingness to talk and ask big questions,” Koers recalled. “I also admired his ability to remain level-headed, even when discussions would get a little heated. He never backed down from his beliefs, but was always good at taking a step back and encouraging everyone to take a deep breath and come together in the end.”

Koers was not surprised to learn about Fincher’s plans to pursue priesthood after graduation.

“I grew up in the Catholic Church, so I remember the kinds of folks who were going through seminary. Luke always struck me as that kind,” he said. “It’s funny now because I distinctly remember back to his freshman year when he said, ‘Nope, definitely not going to do that.’ Seeing that transformation in his attitude and plans I feel like is a classic Wabash story.”

With graduation in sight, Fincher is now preparing to serve under the Catholic Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana as a diocesan priest. He is on track to attend Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis.

“It took me some time to figure it out, but I’m excited for the journey ahead,” Fincher said. “I wholeheartedly believe this is what God made me for.”