Cindy Nusser says she's not concerned whether her brother-in-law, Al Salvi, wins his Republican bid for U.S. Senate.
She is, however, seeking God's "will and purpose" for his family through prayer.
Nusser sent $5 checks to Catholic churches across the state to have Masses celebrated on behalf of Salvi's family the week before the March 19 primary.
Some church officials have rebuffed the effort.
"We're certainly not going to have a church bulletin ad that amounts to a yard sign," said Steve Mamanella, spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Peoria.
Salvi said, "I guess there's some people who don't want to pray for me, and that's fine."
Nusser's letters to about 900 churches, which highlight Salvi's "pro-life platform," have prompted the Catholic Conference of Illinois to advise churches they should take no action that could appear to be a political endorsement.
The group cited one unidentified Chicago pastor who, while lauding Nusser for seeking to "invoke God's protection over the Salvi family," worried that her requests represented a "serious error in judgment" because they could be viewed as a campaign tactic.
If a Mass offering is accepted, it must be celebrated for the intention requested. It is customary to publish the intention in the parish bulletin and sometimes announce it at Mass, but this is not required, the advisory said.
The Pantagraph of Bloomington reported Tuesday at least one priest called Nusser's request a crude attempt to garner votes in Salvi's bid for the seat being vacated by Democratic U. …