Godswill Uchenna Agbagwa is a Catholic priest and a social ethicist. He was born in Umueze Amaimo, a small village in Ikeduru LGA of Imo State to Mr. Charlyman Chikamnele Agbagwa and Mrs. Evelyn Chinyere Agbagwa of blessed memory. He attended Community Primary School Umueze, where he graduated on top of his class with distinction. His secondary education was at St. Peter Claver Seminary Okpala, where he also graduated with the best result. For his undergraduate studies, he attended Seat of Wisdom Major Seminary Owerri (an affiliate Pontifical Urban University, Rome) and graduated on top of his class with triple summa cum laude in philosophy, theology, and religion respectively. He holds a master’s degree in legal and ethical studies from the University of Baltimore, a licentiate in theology from Sacred Heart Seminary Detroit (an aggregate of St. Thomas Aquinas University, Rome) and doctorate in moral theology & ethics from the Catholic University of America, Washington D.C., with focus on Catholic social teaching. He has post graduate certificates in workplace mediation and clinical pastoral care.
Father Agbagwa’s experience with poverty as a teenager led him to dedicate his priestly ministry to social and human development. Since his ordination in 2003 as a priest of the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri, he has been working, teaching, and pursuing research in the social and human development sector. Before moving to the United States for postgraduate studies in 2007, he served as parochial vicar at St. Mulumba’s Parish Owerri, chaplain at Holy Rosary International College Owerri and formator at St. Peter Claver Seminary Okpala while volunteering at the Owerri Provincial Justice, Development, Peace and Caritas office. Here, in addition to his pastoral work, he helped young people develop their talents while challenging them to tackle socioeconomic problems in their communities.
As a graduate student in the United States, besides his pastoral engagements in parishes, schools and hospitals, Fr. Godswill continued his social and human development work as chaplain at Catholic Charities of Baltimore in Maryland, the social and human development arm of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. With terminal degrees in Catholic social teaching, legal and ethical studies, Father Agbagwa taught and pursued advanced research in social ethics at St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, ITT Institute in Baltimore and Frostburg State University, seeking solutions to global poverty while putting his findings into practice at CSAAE (Centre for Social Awareness, Advocacy and Ethics) and CASTINA (Catholic Social Teaching in Action), two international social and human development organizations he founded to fight for good governance, rule of law, anticorruption and human rights; advance quality education, entrepreneurship and job placement; promote effective leadership, train and support effective leaders.
Aware of the important role of ethics towards development, Fr. Godswill has over the years developed ethics modules that provide solutions to ethics challenges hindering development whether in the professional, business, political, academic, social development or religious world.
His accomplishments in the area of social and human development led to his elections as the representative of African Civil Societies at the World Bank and IMF; invitation to speak alongside world leaders at the Harvard University African Development Conference and at the World Bank/IMF Spring meetings; invitation to preach a retreat for the priests of the diocese of Biloxi in Mississippi on Catholic social concerns and; recognition of CSAAE as an organization in special consultative status at the United Nation’s Economic and Social Commission (ECOSOC). He is a frequent TV, Radio, Conference and Retreat guest speaker as well as writer on issues of social and human development. He is the author of several books and articles including, “Solidarity as a Virtue” and “Career Path: Capacities, Competencies and Character.” He is the editor of C-Journal, the African Journal of Social Development.
Fr. Godswill Agbagwa has received several awards including the most achieving alumnus award from his college, the Seat of Wisdom Major Seminary. As a seminarian, Fr. Godswill co-authored the Seat of Wisdom Seminary Anthem; the stage drama presented by Seat of Wisdom Seminary at the 1996 All Nigerian Major Seminaries Cultural Festival, Ikot Ekpene and served as a two-term editor of Wisdom Satellite Magazine. He was also the Master of Ceremony at the 2002 All Nigerian Major Seminary Games, held at Seat of Wisdom Seminary, Owerri.